Reviews for Moon over Manifest


Booklist Reviews 2010 October #2
*Starred Review* 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 "like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
It's 1936 and Abilene's father, himself looking for work, sends her to his hometown of Manifest, Kansas, to live with Pastor Shady, a bootlegger-turned-preacher. There Abilene uncovers secrets about her family and the entire community. The setting jumps between the Depression era and WWI; mysterious letters and enlightening newspaper articles help set the scene for this captivating tale. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 September #2

When 12-year-old Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kan., in 1936 to stay with her father's boyhood friend, little does she know her sojourn will take her back, via mesmerizing tales, newspaper clippings, curious mementoes and World War I letters, to Manifest as it was in 1918—and into the life of the mysterious boy nicknamed Jinx. This young con man effected extraordinary change in the lives of the mostly immigrant residents and the fortunes of the mining town in that year. Abilene and readers get so caught up in the past in this richly detailed, splendidly written novel that they easily make the transition between the Depression and WWI eras and long to learn more about the town that once was. Readers will love guessing how Abilene's dad fits into all the stories and townspeople's memories. 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. (author's note)  (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 May/June
Twelve-year-old Abilene is determined to figure out the many mysteries of Manifest, Kansas, the town in which her father, Gideon, grew up. He sends Abilene to spend the summer of 1936 with a friend in this small town. It doesn't take Abilene long to make friends and discoveries. She does this with the help of the diviner, Miss Sadie, and the "interim pastor," Shady. All of the characters are well defined, unique, and mysterious. They include the evil owner of the coal mine, Sister Redempta (teacher and midwife), and Hattie Mae, who has been writing a gossip column since 1918. Abilene finds a box of treasures and letters, and through them readers learn about World War I, the influenza epidemic, prohibition, coal mining, and the Ku Klux Klan. The 1918 portion of the story is told by Miss Sadie, who seems to know more than she should about these events. Jinx, our main character from 1918, is a drifter as well as a con artist, who mysteriously ends up in Manifest. Abilene's and Jinx's an ics are entertaining and amusing. Anyone interested in historical fiction would be mesmerized by this story, even students who enjoy stories about adventurous kids will be satisfied. Recommended. Annette M. Mills, School Librarian, Triad High School, Troy, Illinois ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 September #4

Set in 1936, this memorable coming-of-age story follows 12-year-old Abilene Tucker's unusual summer in her father's hometown of Manifest, Kans., while he's away on a railroad job. Having had an itinerant upbringing, Abilene is eager to connect to her father's childhood, a goal that proves difficult. The immigrant town has become rundown, but is populated with well-developed, idiosyncratic characters and has a dynamic past involving the KKK, an influenza scare, and a bootlegging operation. Manifest's history emerges in stories recounted by Miss Sadie (a Hungarian medium) and in news columns written in 1917 by Hattie Mae Harper, "Reporter About Town." With new friends Lettie and Ruthanne, Abilene pieces together the past, coming to understand, as Miss Sadie says, that "maybe what you're looking for is not so much the mark your daddy made on this town, but the mark the town made on your daddy." Witty, bold, and curious, Abilene is as unforgettable as the other residents of Manifest, and the variety of voices allows the town's small mysteries to bloom. Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool's debut delights, while giving insight into family and community. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 November

Gr 5-8--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. Since her mother went off on her own 10 years earlier, Abilene and Gideon have been alone. Though their life together is unsettled, their bond is strong. Shady's place is shabby, but he is welcoming. The mystery about Manifest and Gideon unfolds after Abilene finds a box filled with intriguing keepsakes. It includes a letter dated 1917 to someone named Jinx from Ned Gillen that has a warning, "THE RATTLER is watching." This starts Abilene, with the help of new friends Ruthanne and Lettie, on a search to learn the identity of the pair. The story cleverly shifts back and forth between the two eras. Abilene becomes connected to Miss Sadie, a "diviner" who slowly leads her through the story of Ned and Jinx. Though the girl is lonely, she adjusts to her new life, feeling sure that her father will come for her at summer's end. The Ku Klux Klan and its campaign against the many immigrants working in the coal mines and the deplorable conditions and exploitation of these men provide important background. This thoroughly enjoyable, unique page-turner is a definite winner.--Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ

[Page 131]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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