Ruth's Reviews > Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
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Jul 16, 2012

really liked it
Read in July, 2012

I finally realized that it might be a year or more if I just waited for "Moon over Manifest" to be available on the library shelf when I went in and put a hold on it.

In the end, I really did like it, but I thought there were some hallmarks of a first time novelist that really showed through in this book. 1. There were a few places were the author sacrifice believability and characterization to throw in a cheap play on words. 2. It took me about 50 pages to get enough information from the random elements of the novel to feel like I was getting a handle on the book and really get into it. It is supposed to be a mystery, but it was kind of hard to get a good hold on what was going on. If it hadn't have been a Newberry book, I might not have been patient enough to wait around that long. 3. The reader had the mystery solved long before the main character acknowledged what was going on. (Namely that the Jinx was the same person as someone she was trying to find evidence of in the town) 4. At the end, the author turned to a lot of quick wrap-it up summaries, and lost some of the better storytelling from the first of the book.

That being said, the book was interesting with a lot of interesting characters, and once I got the caught onto the patterns the author was using, I had a lot less trouble following the book. Maybe a better reader would have caught on quicker, but I think that this might be a book that young readers would have some trouble getting without a little guidance.There was a lot of interesting history and how historical events that you might read about in a history book actually might play out in a small town in Kansas.

If I were rating this book, I would have given it probably 4 out of 5 stars, and said congratulations on a fine first novel, but I probably would not have given it the Newberry award. However, I guess I would need to read the competition to know that for sure. I do know that I'm beginning to feel like the Newberry award winners are kind of an uneven group. Some times they really are great books. Sometimes the committee's agenda really shows through--it seems that the books are pushing the envelop on controversial subject matter quite a bit--however not particularly in this book. And sometimes I just think they don't always recognize the best books on the children's market.That being said, I will probably still continue reading them in my quest to familiarize myself with current children's lit.
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