Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010. 978-0385738835
Winner of the 2011 John Newbery Award
Synopsis: Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has sent her to live with an old friend for the summer while he works on a railroad job. But when Abilene arrives in Manifest and finds a mysterious box of mementos, she begins to discover that there is more to the worn-out town than meets the eye. Through the stories of diviner Miss Sadie, and immigrant from Hungary, Abilene learns more about the townspeople all while looking for the mark her father left on Manifest.
Why I picked it up: The title caught my eye and I love a good historical fiction novel.
Why I finished it: Vanderpool’s debut is a story filled with mystery and heart that tells the reader about looking into the past to understand the present. Abilene wants to be able to understand her father, but she’s unable to do so from just the stories he has told her. She regards her father as a sort of mysterious person that for reasons unknown to Abilene, seems to want to keep her at arm’s length. A chance meeting provides her with an opportunity to learn more about her father and provides her with a way to not only finish a summer assignment, but become more involved with the townspeople. In many ways, we are like Abilene, searching for answers about why and how we have ended up where we are. We want to know where we came from, we want to know how the past has shaped the future, we want to be able to better understand ourselves and where we fit into the larger picture. Weaving between 1918 and 1936, Vanderpool takes us on a journey and tells us story about survival and the power of love to overcome our hurts.
Other related materials: Island of Hope: The Story of Ellis Island and the Journey to America by Martin W. Sandler; Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool; Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse; A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck; A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck; Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm; The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron; A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff; Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt; The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech; Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech; Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos; From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos; Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage; Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai