#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Moon Over Manifest



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Day 12 – Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool



I was a child of the 1970s and 80s. The terms Middle Grade and Young Adult didn’t exist.

But if those books existed when I was in grade school or middle school, this is a book I would have loved.

The mark of a great book is that it can be appreciated by people of all ages, and MOON OVER MANIFEST has everything a reader could ask for – humor, intensity, fabulous characters, and a plot that leads to numerous fascinating threads that all come together into a beautiful tapestry of layered storytelling.

This has it all, and while this (my) audience is adult I still will tell you to read this book.

I’ve now listened to it three times, the most recent with my sister as we drove together across the country after my mother died. She loved it too. Each time I’m amazed at how lovely this book is, and how well plotted.

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.

Vanderpool has only written two books, and her second, NAVIGATING EARLY, is also amazing. I highly recommend them both, but MOON OVER MANIFEST is where I started, and it remains slightly ahead in my affection.


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