Moon Over Manifest Library Binding – Oct 12 2010
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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.”
Review, THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS, November 2010:
"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The Ghost Writer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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!
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.