Review of Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Format: Paperback
Genres: Mystery, History, World War One,
Pages: 368
Publisher: Yearling
Release Date: 27/12/2011
Find The Author: Website
 

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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.



This is a strange book for me, because parts of this story could be the story of my ancestors. My ancestors came from Kaunas, to England in the late 1800's and from there some of them then moved to America, but I don't know what happened to them after that. So I felt like I could have been reading a story about my ancestors lives.

Moon Over Mnaifest is an interesting story of the early 1900's, jumping from 1936 to 1917 when the First World War was raging. We do hear of the First War a lot and see it's aftermath in the 1936 town, but the Second War is not mentioned as it had only been going on for about a year at that time. Even in a small town in America, you could really see how the War had devastated it's residents and left permanent scars.


Our main character, Abilene, feels as much thrown into this strange town as we do and we learn about the town as she does. This really helped me connect with the main character and I had fun guessing who her father was in the tales of the 1917 town, despite it being pretty obvious. She's a curious kid, so I learnt a lot about the town from her exploring.

Everything in this book is wonderfully described, I really did feel that I was living in a small, dusty, 20th century town alongside Abilene. However, towards the middle I did find myself getting a little bored but the story picked back up for an amazing ending filled with plot twists I never guessed.

The town's characters are really what brings Manifest to life and I loved them all, from the mysterious Miss Sadie who lives apart from everyone else to the life of the town, Hattie May Harper. Her little articles always left a smile on my face and the very last one made me almost cry a little with happiness.


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