Monday, June 20, 2011

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest is a lovely novel. It's 1936, the height of the Great Depression. Abilene Tucker is sent by her father to live with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas. He claims it's because he'll be working a railroad job in another state, but that's never caused him to send Abilene away before. She can sense that something has changed in her father.

Once in Manifest, Abilene begins to reveal secrets about the town and its residents, herself and her father. The story flips back and forth between 1918 and 1936. The story plays out beautifully - not quickly or with a ton of action, but in an engaging and intriguing way. There are many characters, but they develop distinct personalities that help the reader keep them straight.

Moon Over Manifest is a sweet novel that moves deliberately toward revealing its secrets, most of which can be guessed in advance by both Abilene and the reader. The pieces pull together in a moving and altogether satisfactory manner. This book is certainly deserving of the Newbery Medal.

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