Monday, February 25, 2013

MMGM: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Date Published: October 12th 2010
ISBN: 0385907508
Genre: Historical Fiction, middle grade
Themes: Community, home, family, friends, loss
Narrators: Jenna Lamia, Cassandra Campbell, Kirby Heyborne
Run Time: 9 hrs and 31 minutes
Producer: Listening Library

About The Book:  The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories:Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.

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.

First Line: The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby.

Great Quote: “If there is such a thing as a universal--and I wasn't ready to throw all of mine out the window--it's that there is power in a story. And if someone pays you such a kindness as to make up a tale so you'll enjoy a gingersnap, you go along with that story and enjoy every last bite.”

What Others Are Saying: History and fiction marry beautifully in this lively debut novel. It's as if readers jump off the train in Manifest, KS, in 1936 with Abilene Tucker, 12, the feisty, likable, and perceptive narrator. She is there to live with Pastor Shady Howard, her father's friend, while her father works on the railroad back in Iowa. An equally important story set during World War I is artfully intertwined.”—School Journal

The absolute necessity of story as a way to redemption and healing past wounds is at the heart of this beautiful debut, and readers will cherish every word up to the heartbreaking yet hopeful and deeply gratifying ending.” —Starred Kirkus Review

Other Blogger Reviews:
Bunbury In The Stacks
Dee's Book Blog
Book Cubs

My Analysis:
1.POV: Abilene, stories told by Ms. Sadie, letters, newspaper articles.
2. 368 pages
3. The Hook: Abilene is sent on a train by herself by her father.
4. Inciting event: Abilene find the cigar box.
5. Plot and Pace: Several plot lines twist and wind against each other. The pace is lively.
6. Voice: Abilene's voice is incredible accurate for the age and the time.

What I Thought: Abilene immediately whisked me away and I was immersed into her world. I love her outlook, her personality and the way she deals with her situation. I'm incredibly impressed with Vanderpool's ability to to pull all these independent stories into a cohesive project that spans many years. Pretty incredible debut novel and deserving of the Newbery Award Medal. 

About The Author: 
Clare Vanderpool

Who: Clare Vanderpool lives in Wichita, Kansas, about four blocks from where she grew up, in an old neighborhood called College Hill. She grew up reading many wonderful books, with favorites including Harold and the Purple Crayon, Anne of Green Gables, and Island of the Blue Dolphins. She has a college degree in English and Elementary Education, but says that her "best education has come from reading, listening to family stories, looking out the car window on road trips, pretending to be pirates with my brother, and just plain imagining." —Book Browse

How: Want to hear more about how Vanderpool created her book? Check out this audio where she shares some backstory.

Vanderpool's newest book just came out? Have any of you picked it up yet??
Don't miss the other great MMGM reviews, you can find links in my sidebar!

Next Week:Bonyo, Bonyo by Vanita Oelschlager


  1. This sounds fantastic--I love MG historical fiction, and the 1930s is such an interesting era.

  2. Moon Over Manifest is on my all-time list of favorites! I read it aloud to my two kids who loved it just as much.

    My daughter and I have read her new one too. Moon Over Manifest wins for me, but my daughter loves them equally.

  3. Thanks for the review. I love historical fiction and I think I will really like this one.

  4. Sounds like a great historical fiction story. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. I love this book! In fact, I was gushing over it long before it won the Newbery. I loved the way the two story lines came together. Such an impressive debut (and no wonder it took her nine years to write!).

  6. Thanks for stopping by everybody! Yes, it is incredibly involved for a first debut. I'm excited to try her next one.

  7. This cover drew me right in. I love the sound of the book from your review. I can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. I enjoyed Moon over Manifest too. Thanks for sharing about her new novel too. I'd be interested in checking it out. :)


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