Ashley's Reviews > Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
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Nov 27, 11

Read in November, 2011

1. Genre: Historical Fiction
2. Abilene is a twelve year old girl living with her dad during the depression in 1936. They move around frequently in order to make ends meet, but when Abilene’s father decides to take a summer job with the railroad, she is left confused and unhappy. Once in Manifest, Kansas, with an old friend of her father’s, Abilene soon finds herself entwined in an enthralling mystery as she attempts to discover who her father was in his younger years, and what the story is behind this desolate town.
3. Critique:
a. The area I would like to comment on is the depth of the story.
b. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, so I may be biased, but this story was beautifully told, and believable as a 12 year old narrator. The complexity of the book and depth of the story can be found in the literary technique of travelling from 1918 to 1936, as well as the addition of news clippings and blurbs from “outside sources.” The stories from the strange diviner only add to the mystery and excitement. I am a fan of Nancy Drew books and this book seems to have the same essence of adventure and mysteriousness that continues to evolve throughout the story.
c. Abilene and her friends are warned, via a note on their tree house, to “leave well enough alone” but, in a move reminiscent of Nancy, she continues her search for the truth. As she pieces together the meaning behind the objects in her cigar box, the story of her father becomes more complete as she begins her own story in the world.
4. In a school setting, this book could be used to introduce the depression and the hardships faced by those during that time, like Abilene’s father sacrificing time and proximity with his daughter to make money to survive. From a language arts perspective, the complex plot and storyline are great examples of what makes a good writer, and serves as a great model for young writers learning about story development.

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