Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
AR Reading Level: 5.3
On the library stacks: Children's fiction
Award: 2011 Newbery winner
Recommended for: Grades 5+
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Abilene Tucker is a 12-year old girl living on the rails with her Dad in Kansas during the Depression. After Abilene has a health scare, Gideon Tucker puts her on a train to spend the summer in Manifest, a town where he had spent some time growing up.
Once Abilene gets to Manifest, she digs around the town history, trying to understand more about her Dad and why he would send her there. She learns all about the town during World War I with the help of a diviner, a Hungarian woman named Miss Sadie. Ultimately, Abilene uncovers the truths she seeks and helps a town heal from its past while allowing her and her father to develop a future together.
I like how the novel was told in alternating voices between the past and the present. Because the main characters from World War I sections are teenage boys, this book could easily pass for a children's or YA novel and works for either boys or girls. My only concern is that I wonder if kids will like it as much as grown-ups will. Certainly younger kids are going to need to be educated about Prohibition and bootlegging before they read.
But this book is definitely worth its Newbery-winning salt. The different voices from the town each worked like a puzzle piece, with the final pieces completing the picture in the last pages of the novel. This book was heartbreaking, heartwarming, witty, and well-written.
Also reviewed by: Book Nut ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Your link here?
1 hour ago