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Moon Over Manifest [Library Binding]

Clare Vanderpool
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 12 2010 Newbery Medal - Winner Title(s)
Winner of the 2011 Newbery Award.

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.
Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Starred review, BOOKLIST, October 15, 2010:
After a life of riding the rails with her father, 12-year-old Abilene can’t understand why he has sent her away to stay with Pastor Shady Howard in Manifest, Missouri, a town he left years earlier; but over the summer she pieces together his story. In 1936, Manifest is a town worn down by sadness, drought, and the Depression, but it is more welcoming to newcomers than it was in 1918, when it was a conglomeration of
coal-mining immigrants who were kept apart by habit, company practice, and prejudice. Abilene quickly finds friends and uncovers a local mystery. Their summerlong “spy hunt” reveals deep-seated secrets and helps restore residents’ faith in the bright future once promised on the town’s sign. Abilene’s first-person narrative is intertwined with newspaper columns from 1917 to 1918 and stories told by a diviner, Miss Sadie, while letters home from a soldier fighting in WWI add yet another narrative layer. Vanderpool weaves humor and sorrow into a complex tale involving murders, orphans, bootlegging, and a mother in hiding. With believable dialogue, vocabulary and imagery appropriate to time and place, and welldeveloped characters, this rich and rewarding first novel is “like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet.”

Starred review, KIRKUS REVIEWS, September 15, 2010:
“Readers will cherish every word up to the heartbreaking yet hopeful
and deeply gratifying ending.”

Starred review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, September 27, 2010:
"Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool's debut delights,
while giving insight into family and community.”

"Ingeniously plotted and gracefully told."

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool’s first novel, is set in the fictional small town of Manifest, Kansas, which is based on the real southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac, home of both of her maternal grandparents. Drawing on stories she heard as a child, along with research in town newspapers, yearbooks, and graveyards, Clare found a rich and colorful history for her story. Clare lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband and their four children.

From the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Newbery Winner Worthy of the Prize April 11 2011
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Reason for Reading: I am reading all the Newbery winners.

Simple perfection. When I see that Newbery sticker on a book, this is what I expect. A book that truly is a wonderful story that will appeal to kids. A story that catches your attention from the first chapter. One with characters who are interesting, unique and you either love from the start or they eventually win you over at some part. I truly enjoyed every minute of this book and was sad when it came time to close the book on Abilene, Jinx, Miss Sadie and all the rest of the characters in Manifest, Kansas.

Set in 1936, Abilene Tucker, who has grown up as a vagrant train rider with her father, is upset when he sends her to Manifest, a town he spent a spell in his youth to stay with a friend for the summer while he supposedly works a job, not appropriate for a young lady to be around, now that Abilene has turned twelve. Here Abilene makes two friends and finds a hidden cigar box with mementos and letters from 1918 under the floor boards. One is a map of Manifest, there is mention of a spy and the girls set about to find out who the spy was in their town back during WWI and if they are still here. They also come upon the legend of "The Rattler" who wanders the dark forest at night. Is the Rattler the spy, or someone/thing else?

As the girls read the letters we are transported back to 1918 on the war front in France as the letters are from a local boy to a friend named 'Jinx'. We also are taken back to 1918 on the home-front through Miss Sadie, a diviner, as she tells Abilene stories when she comes over to work her garden to repay a large pot she broke snooping about one night.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than expected! Feb. 5 2012
By Jong Uk
I ditched the book for a short period of time. But then as I always do,I started it again. I kept reading, and I was delighted to find out that the later parts of the story was really fun to read. I loved having the clues come together, into a very unexpected story. There was adequate sorrow in the story. I would reccomend this story to anyone, who like reading. Not just history fiction, but anything. I guarantee that this book will be fabulous.

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5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every minute of this book July 22 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed every minute of this book. It was well written and fast paced. A great read for both the young and old.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  233 reviews
133 of 137 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Newbery Surprise! Jan. 11 2011
By Cassondra Vick - Published on
Moon Over Manifest begins with rough-and-tumble, Depression-era stock heroine, Abilene Tucker, arriving in her father's hometown of Manifest, Kansas. She's used to hopping trains, poor living conditions, a rough life and being a little rough around the edges. You know the type. Her father has taken a railroad job in Iowa, and claiming that the situation isn't proper for a young lady, has sent her to spend the summer with his old friend, bootlegger-turned-pastor, Shady Howard. Or, at least, her father says it is only for the summer...

Looking for clues to her father's past, Abilene instead stumbles instead on a little tin filled with some keepsakes and letters, piquing her interest in a couple of young men named Ned and Jinx, and a spy called "the Rattler."

And this is where the story comes alive...

Through the recollections of an old Gypsy fortune teller, Abilene learns about the lives of Jinx, Ned, and about the once-lively town of Manifest, Kansas. Vanderpool manages to effortlessly weave in the stories of Manifest in 1918, on the brink of the Great War, with the Depression-era Manifest of 1939. Sometimes, stories with multiple narratives can be frustrating -- just as you start to get into one story, the author switches to the other -- but Vanderpool balances both very well, never sinking to obvious cliff-hangers nor spending too much time in one "place."

However, both places have their elements of excitement and mystery that keep you wanting to read about both. Best of all, both are full of some really great and memorable characters. This is one of those novels that is just chock full of people (there's even a handy character guide in the front of the book, but the characters are so vivid and real, you won't much need it) that really give the impression of, well, the life of a whole town.

Meanwhile, in terms of historical fiction writing, Vanderpool couldn't have picked a more exciting couple of decades to write about. There's war, depression, labor issues, prohibition, poor race-relations, orphan trains, immigration, and Hoovervilles. All of it filtered through the very relatable character of Abilene Tucker, who is, admittedly, still something of a stock heroine. However, she'll seem fresh enough to the younger set.

Overall, this is a fine novel that I really enjoyed reading, and it kept me interested enough to blow through it in less than 24-hours. Only time and a little perspective can really tell how a Newbery will do in the overall scheme of things, but I think that it is a fine choice, and congratulations to first-time author Clare Vanderpool, from whom I look forward to reading more.

A book about a girl I think you could get a boy to read, best for ages 10-14.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A manifestly wonderful story. Feb. 13 2011
By Richard R. Sefi - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Written by a master. This book is as suitable for adults as for the listed age group. It is hauntingly enjoyable and unforgetable. It is one of those rarities that should enter the consciousness of all its readers, to be carried along with all the other stored memories of books we think of as important to us.
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Tweens Feb. 11 2011
By Teresa Jeanne - Published on
I passed by purchasing this book once, as it was billed for tweens. But on an impulse I bought it. I wasn't sure how I was going to like it when the narrative switched from 1936 to 1918 and of course, the reader understood the connections between the eras before the protagonist did, but she did get it before the end. I liked that the connection was not the *surprise* ending. There are in fact three surprise endings, none of which the reader is fully prepared for. I did not find the character of Abiline to be underdeveloped. She is a tough nut to crack. She is not going to bare her soul to the reader anymore than she does to to the people of Manifest unless she gets the lay of the land. Unlike todays over emotive teenagers, she keeps her own counsel and dignity intact.

Although I was born sixteen years after the story begins, I can attest that the description of small towns in Kansas during the depression is completely accurate. The remmants of the mining in Southeast Kansas are there today. An added bonus to this book, was the author's postscript pointing out what was historically accurate and what was fiction.

If the author continues to write for this age group, more power to her. But I think she also has the talent to turn out a novel that will appeal to adults. Let us hope she keeps writing!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your While to Read Jan. 27 2011
By Cilla - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As Abilene Tucker jumps from a train heading toward Manifest, Kansas in 1936 I felt as if I was heading back in time with her as the book intertwines between 1936 and 1917-1918. The book is based on historical fiction and reveals stories that take place during World War I and the Depression. Abilene is a 12 year old girl who has been sent to Manifest for the summer to live with a Pastor Shady, who is an old friend of her father. Abilene finds a cigar box of letters and mementos under a board in her new room. This discovery leads to more questions about the town, the people who live there now and those who pasted through years earlier, and the big question which is "How does my father fit into this town". As the hot, dry summer days drag on Abilene and two new friends start on a quest to unravel the mysteries of the past as they read the letters found in a cigar box between Ned and Jinx. Their "spy hunt" for the "RATTLER" eventually leads Abilene to Mrs. Sadie's house the "diviner" who begins to recall the past. While Abilene works her debt off the Mrs. Sadie she listens intently to the stories as she realizes that her tales are related to the cigar box full of letters and mementos. What Abilene uncovers helps to bring the town's bright future back as well as the answers to her questions that she spent her entire summer searching for. Abilene's first person narrative is intertwined with Mrs. Sadie's stories, the letters from Ted to Jinx, and a newspaper column. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction from fifth grade on because it recounts actual historical events through a fictional aspect. Everything about this book is realistic from the plot to the characters. A very intriguing book, which I would read again and again. This is why I give Moon Over Manifest five stars.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Newbery Winner March 2 2011
By Heidi Grange - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Abilene Tucker, a twelve-year-old girl, who has lived most of the life on the move with her father, Gideon, arrives in Manifest, Kansas, her father's 'home town' very unsure about whether she wants to be there. While checking out the former saloon/church that she will be living in, she discovers a hiding place under the floorboards in her room. Inside the hiding place is an old cigar box containing some letters and a few odd objects of seemingly no value. When Sister Redempta, the local school teacher and midwife, assigns Abilene to write a story, due in the fall, Abilene has a hard time believing that this town is any different than the dozens of other towns she has past through. She soon learns differently. A run-in with the local Hungarian 'diviner' leads Abilene eighteen years into the town's past and into the life of a young boy named Jinx and his friend, Ned as well as a town full of people each with their own story to tell. A powerful story about the power of a story to connect people despite all their differences.

This book integrates present and past as smoothly as any I've ever read. In fact, the characters from the past almost overshadow the characters in the present. Almost, but not quite. This is very much Abilene's story about family and hope and community. The main theme, I felt, was about how human beings often make assumptions that prove to be incorrect and only by taking the time to look deeper can we truly get to know each other. The writing becomes secondary to the journey the reader makes, hoping, like Abilene, to find a place called home. I find this book very much worthy of the Newbery Medal that it received.
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