NOTE: I don't post to this blog super-duper often anymore, because I'm busy writing, well, books. (Read more about that here.) For more up-to-date, day-to-day ramblings, visit my Facebook page.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool




















Title: Moon Over Manifest
Author: Clare Vanderpool
Pub info: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010; 368 pp
Genre: MG historical fiction, ages 10+

Book No. 6 on the 2014 TBR List is not only a Newbery winner, it was written by a fellow Kansas native! It's been sitting on my shelf awhile, and I'm so glad I finally sat down and read it.

Goodreads summary:
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.

Status: finished 3/6/14

My impressions:
I'd say, first of all, that the Goodreads summary above is a little misleading. The mysterious spy is not a huge plot in this novel. The real mystery is the heart of Manifest and its people. Now a dusty town beaten down by the Great Depression, Manifest was once a thriving town of immigrants with secrets. I love the format of the book: Abilene's first-person narrative is interspersed with stories from 1918 as told by her new friend Sadie and punctuated by clippings from a 1918 town newspaper. While not a fast-paced novel, the writing is light and easy and the characters so endearing that I opened it each day with a happy sigh, knowing I was in for a treat. Parts of it echoed strains of To Kill a Mockingbird, as I suppose many small-town stories do, but it's neither a paean or a ripoff. Manifest tells its own lovely, quiet story, one that readers will enjoy immensely.

About Clare Vanderpool:
Clare Vanderpool is a resident of Wichita, Kansas. She has a degree in English and elementary education and enjoys reading, going to the pool with her children, the television show Monk, and visiting the bookstores in her town. She won the Newbery Medal for Moon Over Manifest, her debut novel. Her second novel, Navigating Early (Delacorte, 2013), won a Printz Honor award for excellence in young adult literature.


Online:
Visit Clare's website here


Want to win a free copy of this book? The first Monday of each month features a giveaway of any of the titles I've reviewed the previous month. Pick your fave, enter, and win!  Next giveaway: April 7.

SIGN UP HERE TO RECEIVE A BRIEF EMAIL WHENEVER A NEW GIVEAWAY BEGINS.

To follow my progress as I bulldoze my way through a stack of 51 to-be-reads this year, search for the tag 2014 TBR Shelf. Read all the reviews here



Check out more great MMGM links at Shannon Messenger's blog!

12 comments:

  1. I love the cover on this one. Sadly it has been on my TBR list for over a year and it keeps getting pushed lower. Your review reminded me to move it back to the top. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! It sat on my shelf way too long too. It's not as serious a book as I'd thought it would be. You'll love it.

      Delete
  2. Welcome to MMGM! And...I am with Greg in that this has been on my TBR for a long time now. Will be moving it up too! Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb! I'm committed to reviewing more books this year, and it finally dawned on me that I should be posting reviews on Mondays. No brainer!

      Delete
  3. I adored this one. I have it in hardcover which, for me, means it's a favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to get NAVIGATING EARLY now. Have you read it, Barbara?

      Delete
  4. Sounds like an intriguing read! Welcome to MMGM, and thanks for the recommend!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This book has been on my radar for so long . I am just going to have to carve out a day and read it soon. Thanks for the reminder. I do wish there were a way to subscribe to your blog by email.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the idea, Rosi! I've added a "follow this blog by email" feature at the top of the sidebar. I appreciate your stopping by. :)

      Delete
  6. I heard the story behind the publication of this book at a workshop wlast month and I've been intrigued ever since. I guess it was difficult to get it published, but now editors are asking for more books like this. I will definitely have to check this out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jenni. I love to see stories like this one get the attention they deserve. And there are precious few books that take place in Kansas. :)

      Delete