Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Reads: Moon Over Manifest

A dear friend sent me this book in the mail.  For no reason.  Just because.  Now you know why she's a dear friend.  (Thank you, Wendy!)

Moon Over Manifest
by Claire Vanderpool

For: 8-12-year-olds

Genre: Historical fiction

Published: 2010

Description: 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.

Why I liked it:  I really loved how the author weaved two different time periods together into one story.  The main story is set in the 1930's and is from the main character's point of view, but I the second time period during World War I was told through newsprint  and letters and stories from folks who'd lived through it.  But mostly I connected with the main character as she struggled to find herself by searching to find who her father really was and how the town of Manifest had molded him.    I felt her longing, and I wanted her to grow from the experience (which she did).  In my opinion this deserved the Newbery Medal (which it received in 2011).

Have any other historical fiction from either WWI or the 30s to share? Please do!  And happy weekend reading!


  1. I just finished Turtle in Paradise, and would definitely recommend it.
    {Moon over Manifest^ is terrific also.}
    Love MG historical fiction! (I'd better, because my book is one.)

    1. I've been meaning to read Turtle in Paradise! Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. I'm reading Daddy Long Legs (Jean Webster) to my girls right now. I don't know if you'd call it historical fiction, though--it was contemporary when it was written--in 1912.

    1. LOL. Love those "historical" contemporary books. ;)