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DescriptionMy life was normal. It sucked, but it was normal. At least until I got this new power. I can control fire. It would be cool if it wasn't so dangerous and if I knew how to use it. Pretty much my sucky life took a nose dive once I got it. Yup, everything gone. I suppose I should be thankful some uncle I never heard of took me in. Turns out the whole family isn't normal and my power is a lot more dangerous than I thought. I thought things couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.
If I'm lucky, I might survive my first day.
Reader Rating: (20 Ratings)
I see it everywhere.
When did it start? I don't remember. A year ago? Maybe more. I see it more now than before.
Flames dance just out of sight. They flicker on school lockers, in windows, anywhere.
Now they hover over the road as I run.
I glare at my watch as I round the block. School sucked today. I've run farther and faster than I usually do, trying to push all my stupid problems away. I wonder if Mom waited for me.
The last year I've been unsettled. Sometimes I get these hot flashes. I don't understand why. Mom gets them sometimes, too. She says not to worry about it.
I can't tell her about seeing the fire, or about the dreams.
We do Yoga and that helps. So does running. I've done a lot of both over the last year.
It hasn't been the best year. Mom lost one of her jobs. She found another, but it doesn't pay as much. Lack of money really stresses her out.
I hope she'll let me get a decent job soon. Something other than yard work and babysitting. I want to help. Mom looks so tired lately. She is really starting to worry me.
In a few months I'll be sixteen. I haven't asked about getting my driver's license. I'm sure Mom won't bring it up either. We don't have money for a car, anyways. We don't even have money for lessons or the stupid license test.
What will I do if something happens to Mom?
I have no idea. We don't have any really close friends. A few people we sort of talk to, like our old neighbor Mrs. Green. No family either, at least not that Mom ever talks about.
I don't have any friends at school. Even though I go to a public school, most of the kids there have money. We don't, and it shows. People can be so fickle. Of course, I don't really try to make friends. I fall into the quiet and shy group. Years ago I gave up trying. Too many times I thought I'd found a friend and then got stabbed in the back.
Seeing fire sets me apart too. I know other people don't see it, not like I do. Some are obsessed with it. I watch them play with matches and lighters outside at school.
I'm not obsessed. What I see scares me.
I slow when I reach our falling down house. Flames dance on the metal mailbox. I look away and dash into the broken porch.
Mom doesn't answer, but I didn't expect her to.
She had started without me. Sitting on a mat, her body is twisted into a Yoga position.
I started Yoga when I was little because it was fun. Later, I did it to spend time with Mom. That was after Dad disappeared and Mom took a second job. The only thing Mom ever makes time for is her Yoga.
Tucking away how much that hurt, I join in quietly.
My thoughts don't want to calm. All I can think about is how unfair everything is. If Dad hadn't disappeared, we wouldn't be living like this.
I glance over at Mom, wondering if anyone knew the truth. The police listed him as a missing person.
Dad left work to come home one night and never arrived. They found his car in the next county. Someone had set it on fire too. At least Dad hadn't been in it. We still don't know what happened to him. Would Mom move on if she knew?
I feel another hot flash coming on and grimace. Breaking my stance, I pull at my T-shirt.
"Misha," Mom says quietly. "Find your center."
Mom never speaks during Yoga. Weird. "I'm fine."
Starting another position, I pull something in my side. Today so isn't a good day.
Last night the dreams had been bad. Fire roared through them, burning everything. Everyone.
Turning and flopping onto my butt, I fan my face. I don't want to remember. Heat spreads through me. Maybe water would help. Water puts out fire.
Mom stands and walks over before I can get up. "This is important," she says firmly.
"I said I'm fine."
Mom tosses her red hair over her shoulder and reaches out to me.
I don't want to be touched and push her hand away.
Mom shrieks in pain.
I stare in shock as the welts form on her hand. They look like fingerprints. They quickly blister into burns.
I jump to my feet. Reaching out again, I quickly stop myself. I panic. The heat within me grows worse. "What did I do? I'm sorry!"
Mom sucks in a deep breath. "It's alright, honey. Let me deal with this." She pauses at the door. "We'll talk in a minute."
I nod dumbly, having no idea what's going on. Had I done that? How?
Flames flicker out of the corner of my eye. Fire.
I run to the kitchen and get a glass of water. I drink two cups before Mom comes back. Her hand is bandaged. "What's going on?"
She sits at the table and puts her face in her hands. Her hair falls around her.
My hair is the same shade of red as my moms. It looks like pale fire. Ours is like wild fire, curls and waves going off in every direction. Mom keeps hers really long. I cut mine shoulder length a few months ago. Dad's hair was red too, but darker and straight.
Mom has flecks of gold in her green eyes like me. I don't remember Dads eyes.
She looks up at me. The gold flecks remind me of tiny flames. "I was hoping you'd be free of this."
"Free of what?"
She lowers one hand and holds it out, palm up.
I stare at her hand, confused. "What?"
Mom doesn't say anything.
A moment later a flame is dancing over her palm. She curls her fingers in and out, playing with it.
I do nothing but stare at the fire she created. It's impossible to look away from the flame.
Fear runs through me. Mom made this fire. I see fire, dream of fire. I just burned Mom.
"The current term for it is pyrokinesis," she says after a while. "The ability to start fire from nothing, to control it, has been around forever."
"So what, you're like a firestarter?" I've seen the Stephen King movie. I've even read the book. Perhaps that's what freaked me out. It wasn't a very happy story.
Mom nods. She isn't happy either.
"How..." I don't even know where to begin.
Mom sighs as she curls her fingers over the flames. They disappear. She leans back in her chair. "In science class, you've learned how everything is made up of atoms?"
"We can manipulate atoms to an excited state until they burst into flame. We can create fire from nothing by doing the same with atoms in the air."
I don't know what to say. Is she serious?
"Like a microwave," she adds.
"And you're saying I can do this too?"
She grimaces. "Yes. The first signs are heat changes in your body." She shakes her head. "It's a very dangerous gift, Misha. More like a curse. It's not easy to control."
I think of Dad. Of his burned out car. "Dad?"
She nods. "He was like me. Like us."
"But did it kill him?" I can't stop thinking of that movie. Of the girl who could kill with her fire. I remember my dreams of fire out of control. At least I know his death hadn't been my fault. I just got this darn power. Hadn't I?
Mom looks away. "I don't know."
I sit down at the table. My feet just don't want to hold me anymore. "Okay. So what now? How the heck do I control this?"
She smiles a little. "You're growing up so fast."
I stick my tongue out at her.
"You've got to learn to control it. Keep practicing. Stay calm and steady."
It's fun when you suddenly understand something. "The Yoga!"
She nods. "It helps. I'll help you, now that I know..." her voice trails off and she looks away. She looks tired again.
I wonder if she's worried I'll burn the house down. If I'll hurt her.
Looking at her hand, I wince. I already had.
Mom smiles a little. "You won't need to worry about doing that again, honey. I just wasn't prepared. Our gift can't fully be explained by science. We can control fire as well, move it, strengthen it, put it out. We can protect ourselves from it."
"Maybe I should learn that first?"
She chuckles. "A good plan."
So began my lessons as a firestarter.
Reader Reviews (4)
Submitted By: sunsetsunrise on Apr 22, 2011I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters were well-structured, the plot was well-developed and the writing style was interesting enough. Once I started reading it,it was impossible to stop-a real page-turner!
Submitted By: Firewolf on Apr 12, 2011Banished by Jen Wylie is the first in her Electric Shorts series geared towards young readers. Misha’s mother dies and she suddenly finds herself with a family she didn’t know. Her new Uncle takes her home, then discovers her power. She’s very good with fire. Scared of her abilities, her Uncle and a few other powerful mages banish Misha to Ever. Now she has to survive in a world where everything really is out to get you and she doesn’t even know any of the rules. This story is fast paced.
Submitted By: shaydenfl on Apr 8, 2011I know banished is a series designed to entice young adults to read. It does just that. I will admit one thing. It's also enticing to adults. Fast paced and action packed, Banished is a sinfully delicious addition to anybody's library. I HIGHLY recommend it to both adults and kids. Ms. Wylie has done it once again.
Submitted By: TrishWolfe on Mar 2, 2011Banished is the first installment of the YA series Tales of Ever. The MC, Misha, and her mother live alone in a rundown house. Misha struggles with herself and her situation, wanting a better life for herself and her mother. She’s shy, doesn’t have many friends, but her lack of money and quietness isn’t what sets her apart from the wealthy kids at school, it’s the fire she sees dancing in front of her vision. When her mother tells her she’s basically a firestarter, Misha then understands why she’s been having strange dreams and seeing fire. Her mother guides her, giving her lessons about her unusual gift, until the day she becomes ill, leaving Misha alone in the world. Misha’s character is amazingly strong. I fell in love with this girl right from the start. She’s already been through so much growing up, and now faces all new obstacles. When she meets a long lost relative who takes her into his care, she’s cautious, not knowing if she can really trust him. Her uncle knows things, and he’s keeping secrets about her family from her. Misha sets off to discover the truth, and during her mission becomes banished to another realm called Ever. As I’m trying not to give spoilers, I’ll tell you this much. Ever is a scary place. You don’t get sent away on vacation here, you’re sent because the people who sent you here don’t want you to come back. Wylie’s description of Ever is haunting. I love the world the author created, and I felt for Misha as she struggled to survive her first day there. Misha’s only chance of survival is a strange and gorgeous guy she runs into named Jadus. He’s been there for a long time and knows about the plants, monsters, and other magical creatures living there. Banished left me hanging big time, but that’s okay, because I know there’s going to be a new story each month for six months! I don’t have to wait a year to get my hands on the next chapter of Misha’s story. I love that about this series. Banished is a fun and fast read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With its wonderfully crafted characters, original plotline, and action-packed scenes, I think Ever is a fantastic addition to the YA market!
BanishedBy: Jen Wylie