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*Moon Over Manifest* by Clare Vanderpool- young readers fantasy book review
Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
Ages 9-14 368 pages Delacorte October 2010 Hardcover    

Winner of the 2010 Newbery Award, Moon Over Manifest is the extraordinary story of a young girl, Abilene, who has been sent to spend the summer in her fatherís boyhood hometown of Mainfest, Kansas, while he works on the railroad in Iowa.

It is the summer of 1936. Abilene is staying with an old friend of her fatherís, where she discovers mementos in a cigar box in her attic room and an article which leads her to believe that there is Ė or was - a spy living in Manifest. As her investigation continues, Abilene learns pieces of history of the year 1918 from an old woman, newspaper clippings, and letters from a young soldier.

At the same time Abilene learns of Manifestís past, she is also searching to learn more about her father, who came to Manifest that same year: a lifetime wanderer who has recently appeared to give up on life.

The story of Manifest centers on a boy named Jinx, a stranger in town who becomes involved in the townís bootlegging operations, disputes with the mining company, and his friendís enlistment in the army during World War I.

Jinxís story is carefully revealed through the old Hungarian woman Miss Sadie, known to be a diviner or seer of the future, yet her stories shed more light on the past than the present. Letters from Jinxís friend Ned, who has enlisted in the army and serves in France, divulge even more secrets about the relationships and activities of the people of Manifest.

The process that Abilene goes through to discover Manifestís history is much like the method good teachers and historians use to understand actual historical events, using firsthand accounts and primary source documents.

Vanderpool creatively intertwines a number of strongly developed characters with multiple perspectives who disclose hints of the story, circumstances and events which surrounded her father and the impact he made on the community. Very much like a mystery, Abilene and the reader do not find out the truth until the very end.

Moon Over Manifest is not a quick read but rather a perfect choice for children who love to read, understand the elements needed to truly build a genuinely, wonderful story, and can appreciate the importance of details which alone seem inconsequential but when compiled create a masterpiece truly worthy as the best book for children published in 2010. Historical fiction at its very best.
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