Moon Over Manifest

Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest
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Moon Over Manifest

Clare Vanderpool

On a summer visit to her father’s hometown, Abilene is determined to find out as much as she can about his childhood and the town he knew; but as she & her new friends delve into the past they discover things that some people would rather had remained hidden.


What a story! Mystery, history, love, loss and friendship set in 1936 Kansas.

Moon Over Manifest has an eccentric cast of characters, and the most endearing and unforgettable is Abilene Tucker. Inexplicably sent by her drifter father to the small run-down town of Manifest to stay with reformed bootlegger turned minister, Shady Howard, she feels abandoned and puzzled. However, as clapped out as the town is, it hasn’t lost its heart, and it embraces and nurtures Abilene as she sets about solving the mystery of her father and his connection with it. After finding a box of letters and other ephemera, Abilene, with the help of Miss Sadie, pieces together not only the momentous times in Manifest’s history, but ultimately (and poignantly) comes to know her father.

The powerful bond that Gideon and his daughter share is the foundation of the book and the ending is very moving; this reviewer shed a few tears! Readers will be enchanted by the quirky townsfolk and the artful weaving of two narratives that is evocative and lively. Moon Over Manifest is a rich and rewarding read. Obviously the judges of the highly esteemed Newbery Medal agreed, awarding this debut novel the 2011 medal. Not to be missed. For ages nine and up.

Alexa Dretzke is from Readings Hawthorn.

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