Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Love: Moon over Manifest

I've been posting about books a lot lately but I've read so many great ones that it's hard not to! 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
page count: 368 pages
approx. read time: 4.5 hours

This book was Newbery Medal winner in 2011 so right there is a pretty good sign it's going to be good.  It came recommended to me by a friend and I'm usually up for some good middle-grade fiction and this was one of the best ones I've read (which really isn't saying much because I haven't read many in the last 20 years was good).

Abilene Tucker has lived a mostly transit life with her father, Gideon, in her 12 (I think) years.  She knows how to jump on/off rail cars for one thing.  She has grown up hearing about the town of Manifest and after a slightly grusome accident, her father ships her off to live there with an old friend named Shady.  Who is a little Shady but in a mostly harmless way (that might sound bad but there is never even the slightest hint of possible or potential abuse).

The story takes place over two time periods - 1918 and 1936, when Abilene is a resident.  She arrives in town on the last day of school and makes a couple friends.  She is wondering how to spend her summer and time stuck in Manifest waiting on her father when she discovers a hidden stash of items and what she believes to be a treasure map.  This leads her and her friends on a bit of a chase to figure out the meaning of the various items and where this map leads to.

Abilene also befriend/is forced into helping Miss Sadie, a "diviner" who seems to know a lot about the people of Manifest and all the items from from Abilene's hidden stash.  Miss Sadie shares stories with Abilene from Manifest in 1918 and the people who were around then and some are still there now.  Things happen.  Abilene slowly learns about the town's past and how that affects her in the present.

In the beginning it took me a little bit to keep the characters straight but then by the end I couldn't get through it fast enough. Things happen and are connected in ways I did not expect or see coming.  And just when I thought the revelations were done there was something new.  It was really incredible story telling and so well written.  I really felt like I knew the people of Manifest and understood their struggles.

I've read a decent amount of fiction set around World War II but not nearly as much as World War I (the earlier time line) or even the time before the second war (the later time line).  It was refreshing to read about a different time in history.  Highly recommend to any interested in history, small town America, or just good story telling.  I imagine it'd be great to read in a school setting too!

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