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Monday, November 19, 2012

Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest
Image courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
Call Number:

Review by Kathleen Isaacs of Booklist (Oct. 15, 2010 Vol. 107, No. 4)

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 well-developed characters, this rich and rewarding first novel is “like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet.” Grades 5-8

1 comment:

  1. Our mother/daughter book club really enjoyed this book. Our assessment was that it was a little hard to get started on the book (for some of the 6th and 7th grade girls and their moms!), but it was definitely hard to put down once it kicked in. This story within a story has a lot going on and manages to entertain while teaching a little history.