Moon Over Manifest

Author: Clare Vanderpool
Lexile Level: 800L
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.3
Historical Fiction
My recommended age: 10 and up

Abilene's life hasn't been what you'd call normal.  The daughter of a drifter, she's never lived in any one place for very long, and her knowledge of railway jumping exceeds that of most adults.  Abilene loves life with her Dad, and is disappointed when he sends her to live in the town of Manifest, Kansas.  Despite the gloom of being separated from the only parent she's ever known, Abilene finds herself enjoying life in this small town, and is determined to solve an 18 year old mystery.

I picked up this title because it is the winner of the 2011 Newbery award, and I liked the picture on the cover.  I didn't know anything about the story, but figured I probably couldn't go wrong if the Newbery people found it worthy of their notice.  I wasn't disappointed!  Abliene is a likable character but not at all sappy, which I enjoyed.  There was a fair amount of humor mixed in the story, and I was quite pleased with the author's style of writing.  Moon Over Manifest does include references to World War I, soldiers dying, a murder, kid abandonment, alcohol, boot-legging, and a not so nice con artist,. Wow, reading that list it sounds like a lot, but honestly, there was nothing that would keep me from recommending this great book!


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