BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.

Reviews of Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest

by Clare Vanderpool
  • Critics' Opinion:
  • Readers' Opinion:
  • First Published:
  • Oct 12, 2010
  • Paperback:
  • Dec 2011
  • Rate this book

  • Buy This Book

About This Book

Book Summary

Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool's debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

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.

Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool's debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

Santa Fe Railway    
Southeast Kansas    
MAY 27, 1936    

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I knew only from stories. The one just outside of town with big blue letters: manifest: a town with a rich past and a bright future.  

I thought about my daddy, Gideon Tucker. He does his best talking in stories, but in recent weeks, those had become few and far between. So on the occasion when he'd say to me, "Abilene, did I ever tell you 'bout the time...?" I'd get all quiet and listen real hard. Mostly he'd tell stories about Manifest, the town where he'd lived once upon a time.   His words drew pictures of brightly painted storefronts and bustling townsfolk. Hearing Gideon tell about it was like sucking on butterscotch. Smooth and sweet. And when he'd go back to not saying much, I'd try recalling what it tasted like. Maybe that was how ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    John Newbery Medal
    2011

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Moon Over Manifest strikes me as a children's book animated by an expressly adult sentiment: nostalgia for a simpler past. The Newbery award committee obviously related to this powerful emotion, but does its intended audience of fifth to eighth graders? Vanderpool calls upon a kind of a sepia-tinged longing for a very recent past which seems just out of reach. I'm not sure that young readers naturally feel that emotion, but perhaps the point of the book is to teach them this, to make them curious about the past and how it has created us, to nudge them into realizing that the past is retrievable, with just a little detective work and literary imagination...continued

Full Review (878 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Amy Reading).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Starred Review. 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.'

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Readers will cherish every word up to the heartbreaking yet hopeful and deeply gratifying ending.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool's debut delights, while giving insight into family and community.

School Library Journal
This thoroughly enjoyable, unique page-turner is a definite winner. Grades 5-8.

Children's Literature
Alternately set between World War I and The Great Depression, the story is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and sometimes poignantly sad, but page after page, it is hard to put down.

Reader Reviews

Kylie

Good Book
I like this book because it has like real things and feelings that happen to people its not just a spoiled little girl who has everything good happen to her, she actually has troubles and thoughts and feelings!
Lynn

Wonderful story
This book was recommended to me by the librarian at the k-8 school where I worked. It was new and she wanted an opinion. I loved it - a great story about a young girl living in a new town where she knows no one - not to mention that her family ...   Read More
KK

Great!
I loved it!!!! It was the best book that I think I have read in yyears!! I recommend to all. Friends and FAMILY!!!!!

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book



On the Path to the Newbery Medal

Moon Over Manifest began as a story the author clearly needed to hear. Her inspiration was a line in Moby Dick that also influences Abilene: "It is not down in any map; true places never are."

On her website Vanderpool explains, "That really sparked my imagination. What is a true place? It conjured up ideas of home. Having lived most of my life in the same neighborhood, place is very important and for me true places are rooted in the familiar – the neighborhood pool, the sledding hill, the shortcuts, all the places where memories abound. But I wondered, what would a 'true place' be for someone who has never lived anywhere for more than a few weeks or months at a time?"

She based Manifest on the town of Frontenac, ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Moon Over Manifest, try these:

  • Navigating Early jacket

    Navigating Early

    by Clare Vanderpool

    Published 2014

    About this book

    More by this author

    New York Times Best Seller Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for Moon Over Manifest, is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys' incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.

  • Liar & Spy jacket

    Liar & Spy

    by Rebecca Stead

    Published 2013

    About this book

    More by this author

    Liar & Spy is an inspired, often-funny story about destiny, goofy brilliance, and courage. Like Stead's Newbery Medal-winning When You Reach Me, it will keep readers guessing until the end

We have 5 read-alikes for Moon Over Manifest, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Clare Vanderpool
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start
discovering exceptional books!
Find Out More

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman and a Thief
    A Gentleman and a Thief
    by Dean Jobb
    In the Roaring Twenties—an era known for its flash and glamour as well as its gangsters and ...
  • Book Jacket: Early Sobrieties
    Early Sobrieties
    by Michael Deagler
    Dennis Monk is sober now, and he expects some applause. Or at least some recognition that he's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Coin
    The Coin
    by Yasmin Zaher
    A popular choice for book jackets in recent years, perhaps especially in the historical fiction ...
  • Book Jacket: The Night of Baba Yaga
    The Night of Baba Yaga
    by Akira Otani, Sam Bett
    When Yoriko Shindo gets into a brawl on a busy street in 1970s Tokyo, she has no idea what the ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Lady Tan's Circle of Women
by Lisa See
Lisa See's latest historical novel, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China.
Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl
    by Bart Yates

    A saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Win This Book
Win Smothermoss

Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

A haunting, imaginative, and twisting tale of two sisters and the menacing, unexplained forces that threaten them and their rural mountain community.

Enter