Moon Over Manifest — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”
~ William Butler Yeats ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Louise Harnby sure has great stuff on her blog. Her post HERE on writing good dialogue is terrific.

Author Dan Alatorre has a great post HERE that will help you Show, Don’t Tell = Use Body Language.

Anne R. Allen always has useful posts. The guest post HERE by Kathy Steinemann on filter words is excellent.

While I was traveling recently, I had some extra reading time and got to a couple of books that have been in my TBR pile for quite a while. I will talk about both of them today. I don’t often talk about adult books here, but once in a while, I read something I simply have to mention.  Several years ago, I waxed poetic on my blog about True Grit by Charles Portis. If you are interested, you can see that post HERE. The adult book I finally got around to on my trip was News of the World by Paulette Jiles, and in some ways it reminds me of True Grit. It is the story of a man who travels around post-Civil War Texas making a living by reading from newspapers from the East Coast and even London to those who can’t get the papers or can’t read. He is in his 70s,  a widower, and his daughters are not near by. He’s asked by a government agent to deliver a 10-year-old girl to relatives in a distant part of the state. She had been taken by the Kiowa Indians four years earlier after they had killed her parents and sister. She wants to go back to the Kiowa. This becomes quite an interesting journey for both of them. The writing is simply gorgeous and the story so very compelling. And I will repeat something here I wrote about True Grit in that old blog post because I feel exactly the same about News of the World as I did about True Grit. “In a sense, True Grit is a love story. Not the kind of romantic love that phrase usually implies, but the deep and abiding love that grows out of a mutual respect between these two friends. At times it was a slow and easy journey. At other times it was so intense, I forgot to breathe for pages and pages. It is a powerful story and well worth your time to read. I’m so glad I took the time.”

moon-over-manifest-coverNow on the the book specifically for MMGM. I read a review recently (No, I cannot remember where. Sigh.) of Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. I was reminded it was in my TBR pile and I had never gotten to it. It’s a Newbery winner, for heaven’s sake, and I had never gotten to it! I just love the cover and historical fiction is my favorite genre, but there it sat moldering in my TBR pile. I stuck it in my carry-on along with News of the World and headed for the airport.

Abilene Tucker has been sent on a train to a little town called Manifest where she is to stay for a while with a friend of her father’s she has never met. It is the 1930s and the Great Depression has made things hard for a lot of people. She is sure of two things — her father will be back to get her soon and this will give her a chance to find out more about her father, who has never told her much about his life. Her first day there is the last day of school, and for some reason, she is sent to school that day and even given an assignment to work on over the summer, even though she is sure she won’t be back in the fall. She tries to avoid making friends since this is a temporary stay, but ends up with two in spite of her rudeness. Abilene discovers some old letters and mementos which she shares with her friends, and they think there is a mystery in town they need to uncover. They work on that when they can, but Abilene breaks something at the home of an old, mysterious woman and has to work off the debt. While Abilene is working, the old lady  tells Abilene stories about the town and its people in a time many years earlier when Abilene believes her father was there. Abilene discovers a lot about the town and about herself during that summer in Manifest, and the story has a most satisfying conclusion.

Clare Vanderpoole
Clare Vanderpool

I can see why Clare Vanderpool’s marvelous book won a Newbery. It is one of the best middle-grade novels I’ve ever read. The writing is spectacular, the characters believable and engaging, and the stories in both time periods are equally compelling. If you somehow missed this book when in came out all those years ago, go find a copy and read it. I promise, you will enjoy every word.

No giveaway this week. Both books will be donated to the library after they make the rounds of my family. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

11 thoughts on “Moon Over Manifest — Review”

  1. These sound great. I love your description of the love stories. Not every lot story is or should be romantic.


  2. I read Moon over Manifest when it was published as I try to get to the award winners every year. I do remember loving this book too.


  3. I read Moon Over Manifest several years ago and loved it! So it was fun reading your review, because I’d forgotten so much of the story. But, I do remember her relationship with the old woman in town (I remember her as a fortune teller). I had first read Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool and loved it so much I looked for her other books. Thanks for sharing Clare’s photo, because she is much younger than I thought. Quite a literary writer! And, I loved your review of News of the World — fascinating story I want to read.


  4. Great set of links! They were like a mini-workshop on improving your writing. I also read Moon Over Manifest a few years back and your review makes me want to go back and reread. It’s that good. Thanks for featuring it today on MMGM.


  5. I have Moon Over Manifest on the shelf at my school library, but I haven’t read it yet. I just moved it up on my list to read it this summer. Your review has me intrigued. I love HF and can’t wait to dive in. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


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