Railroad tracks

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool is really two stories in one.  One in the present (actually 1936) and one in the past (1918).  It’s about a girl named Abilene and an orphan boy named Jinx.  There are multiple mysteries, moonshine, mortality, a handful of misunderstandings, and more.

The railroad tracks in the book take people places, but they also leave things behind.  Things longed for, things feared, things not known.  You follow Abilene’s search for answers as she gets to know a boy, a diviner, and the townsfolk in Manifest, Kansas – “A town with a rich past and a bright future.”

Ms. Vanderpool does a fine job of weaving a mystery through time that keeps you filling in details until the end.  The “Path to Perdition” leads 12 year old Abilene to huge revelations.  And I particularly loved the article written by the newspaper columnist right after she received her first thesaurus!

As the Goodreads description of this Newbery winner puts it: “Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.”

Be sure to read the author’s notes at the end – about the parts based on her own life and family.  It is always a good reminder that stories are often woven with both reality and fiction, like twin tracks taking us to new places.

My favorite quote:

Memories were like sunshine.  They warmed you up and left a pleasant glow, but you couldn’t hold them.



Copyright © Gienah Beaty, bookshelfbriefs.wordpress.com, 2016.  All rights reserved.  (Public Domain image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net)