Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication date: October 2010
ISBN: 9780385738835
Source: Library

Moon Over Manifest

When Abilene is sent by her daddy to spend the summer in Manifest, she isn't too thrilled.  Her daddy's never sent her away before and Abilene is unsure how she'll fit in to the town.  But, it's only for the summer.  Staying with Shady, the temporary preacher for the last fourteen years, she discovers a box filled with letters that lead her and her new friends on a spy hunt.  But the letters aren't the only source of history she has.  Miss Sadie, the town's fortune teller, is also telling stories from Manifest's past and Abilene is hoping her father will show up in some of them.  Maybe then she can figure her father and herself out.

Things I Liked:
I can sure see why this won the Newbery.  The writing is quite beautiful and I was really transported back to the 1930s and to the first great war.  The story is beautifully woven, incorporating details from Abilene's present as well as the history of Manifest and her daddy's past.  The characters are endearing, particularly Sadie and Shady, both fantastically flawed people that you can't help but cheer for.  Just an all around well written and researched book.  Can't wait for more from Vanderpool!  Here are some favorite parts:

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 I found comfort just then, even with him being so far away.  By remembering the flavor of his words.  p 1-2
Miss Sadie's place wasn't quite as scary in the daylight.  It had gone from being a full-fledged den of iniquity to a sorry excuse for a house.  Grass and weeds snuck their way up through the saggy porch and all around the sides of the house, giving it the scruffy look of a week-old beard.  If this was a ghost house, it looked like that ghost had lost his job and all his savings along with the rest of the country.  p 53
I thought I knew a thing or two about people.  Even had my list of universals.  But I wondered.  Maybe the world wasn't made of universals that could be summed up in neat little packages.  Maybe there were just people. p 144
Things I Didn't Like:
I think this one will not have much in the way of kid appeal.  The jumping around in stories and the slow moving plot will deter those who aren't particularly fond of historical fiction.  It may even have that effect on those who are fond of it.  Definitely a book that will be loved more by adults.


Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
A bit like Born to Fly by Michael Ferrari

s-factor: !
some, but not many

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
some intense parts, but nothing too frightening

Overall rating: ****

While I love a good historical fiction, I kinda wish more fantasy books won Newbery awards. What do you think?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I guess that's a good thing for me but a sad thing for kids. Sometimes it's hard to get into books written for kids and if you can get into it then the kids probably won't. I've heard good things about this one, though.

  2. I often say this about the Newberys -- I loved this book, but expressed the same sentiment -- I don't think kids will like it as much.

  3. Loved this!! But echo your comments, not sure I will be able to persuade my 10 yr old daughter to read it...

  4. I loved this book too. But I'm an adult.
    I would love to see a fantasy book win next year.

  5. Jenny, it is really enjoyable and I hope you get to it someday!

    Annette, I hate that we often have to say that about Newbery books :(

    Melissa, definitely going to be hard to persuade any non HF fans to pick it up.

    LinWash, fantasy for the win! I hope so too.

  6. It makes me kind of sad that a book kids probably wouldn't like as much won the award.

    Totally with you on wishing more fantasy books won :)

  7. Small, I think it's really sad too! That's what I love about the Cybils awards - they take into account kid-appeal.

  8. We read this for my in-person book group this month, and one of the women mentioned her son's sixth grade teacher read it aloud. The class loved it. So, maybe it's not one that kids will pick up on their own, but given the chance, they would like it. (Hopefully.)

  9. Melissa, oh that's fantastic! Hopefully if we get it into the right hands, kids will like it!


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