Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

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, and prejudice.

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.

With 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."

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