Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Moon Over Manifest - Clare Vanderpool

This guest review comes to us from Melissa M. over a Gerbera Daisy Diaries.  She sends us some real gems from time to time and we always love to have her!

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.

Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.  (Summary from goodreads.com - Image from http://www.clarevanderpool.com/)

My Review:  Abilene Tucker is riding the rails, quite literally, into the town of Manifest, Kansas.

She’s been shipped by her father to spend the summer with Shady Howard– and man she has never met, but is trusted by her father to care for her during the summer.

There she meets up with Lettie and Ruthanne, who become her companions on a quest to determine the meaning behind a box of mementos discovered under the floorboard of her room: a map, a cork, a fishhook, a sliver dollar, a fancy key, and a tiny wooden baby doll.

Thus Abilene begins a summertime odyssey to learn the secrets of her past and of the city of Manifest.

No mincing words --  I adored this book.

Author, Clare Vanderpool, has created a vintage story that bridges two time periods – that of WWI and the Depression, with a cast of captivating & quirky characters (everything from bootleggers, and miners, to a gypsy and a nun!) and a main character, Abilene, who will run away with your heart.

I was completely transformed back in time – I felt like I was walking in stride with Abilene. Every clue she uncovered and every story she heard was as if I was learning it with her. It was also particularly endearing because much like Manifest, my ancestors were a part of a small town Manifest-like community – that this book could easily been about their lives.

The only thing I that I regret, was taking far too long to finish (so many obligations this week). This is a book that needs to be read in a day or two to fully embrace the richness of the narrative.

This was absolutely deserving of the Newbery Medal Award this year…and so far, my favorite book of 2011.

My Rating: 5 Stars - Love, love love LOVED it!

Sum it up:  A well deserved award winner that will appeal to both child and parent alike.For a clip from the author, please check out this related video:


Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Re-reading this made me love it all over again!

Tribute Books said...

LOVE the cover - thanks for sharing :)


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