This YA book is told through they eyes of a young and innocent 12 year old girl in 1936. It's a fast paced book loaded adventure not only of Abilene, the 12 year old, but of her father as she traces back through his past.
I can totally understand why it became a Newbury Honor Award Winner.
After a life of riding the rails with her father, 12-year-old Abilene
can’t understand why he has sent her away to stay with Pastor Shady
Howard in Manifest, Missouri, a town he left years earlier; but over the
summer she pieces together his story.
In 1936, Manifest is a town worn
down by sadness, drought, and the Depression, but it is more welcoming
to newcomers than it was in 1918, when it was a conglomeration of
coal-mining immigrants who were kept apart by habit, company practice,
Abilene quickly finds friends and uncovers a local
mystery. Their summerlong “spy hunt” reveals deep-seated secrets and
helps restore residents’ faith in the bright future once promised on the
town’s sign. Abilene’s first-person narrative is intertwined with
newspaper columns from 1917 to 1918 and stories told by a diviner, Miss
Sadie, while letters home from a soldier fighting in WWI add yet another
narrative layer. Vanderpool weaves humor and sorrow into a complex tale
involving murders, orphans, bootlegging, and a mother in hiding.
believable dialogue, vocabulary and imagery appropriate to time and
place, and well-developed characters, this rich and rewarding first
novel is as Abilene says... “like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet."