Where I Bought : Popular Bookfest 2013
Price : RM15
Rating : 5/5 stars
This is why I am into Children’s Literature, perhaps I didn’t grow out of my childhood books or perhaps these books are jewels to treasure.
Moon Over Manifest is Clare’s debut children novel and winner of the Newberry Medal in 2011. A literary award presented to author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
The book begins in 1936 Manifest Town, Kansas with interludes of stories circa 1910s but they are all important parts of Clare’s distinguished style of weaving different background settings into one strongly coherent story.
Abilene was sent away on a train to Manifest by her father after an incident where she was lucky to recover from a bad infection due to a cut on her knee (strange isn’t it? this is where the story starts to get to you). She was sent to stay with her father’s friend a pastor named Shady and in his house she discovered a hidden cigar box of mementos and letters. As she laid down to sleep in the calm of the night, Abilene was thinking about the cigar box, her father who had stayed with Shady before and how she intended to find out about her father’s footprints in this town.
As soon as she arrived in town, she met Hattie Mae a town news reporter whose news column Abilene adored. Abilene also met 2 new found friends in the last day of school, Lettie and Ruthanne who then embarked on a quest with her to find out more about a spy mentioned in one of the cigar box letters. As the investigation went on they were anonymously warned by someone who didn’t want them to interfere with this matter. As if the story wasn’t interesting enough, Abilene’s fate also intertwined with a mysterious diviner lady who stayed alone and gradually learnt about the deep pasts of characters mentioned in the letters.
When you read on, more and more of Manifest’s past was revealed, centering around the people who are present and also the people who were in the past mentioned in all the hidden letters. Abilene was getting closer and closer to her search of her father’s histories.
Clare’s wonderful storytelling, clever and subtle weaving of multiple POVs with surprising twists, very well developed and carved characters kept me intrigued the whole time. I could draw my imagination over this dusty town just by reading the description. There is an interesting author’s note at the end of the book stating the facts and fiction used in this historical fiction novel.
I would recommend this book for an adventure in a historical town where characters come alive and many olden stories waiting to be told.