My enjoyment rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Source: Public library (but I loved it so much, I will be purchasing a copy for my own library!)
Juvenile Fiction -- Newbery Medal Winner 2011
Abilene Tucker is riding the rails, quite literally, into the town of Manifest, Kansas.
She’s been shipped by her father to spend the summer with Shady Howard– and man she has never met, but is trusted by her father to care for her during the summer.
There she meets up with Lettie and Ruthanne, who become her companions on a quest to determine the meaning behind a box of mementos discovered under the floorboard of her room: a map, a cork, a fishhook, a sliver dollar, a fancy key, and a tiny wooden baby doll.
Thus Abilene begins a summertime odyssey to learn the secrets of her past and of the city of Manifest.
No mincing words -- I adored this book.
Author, Clare Vanderpool, has created a vintage story that bridges two time periods – that of WWI and the Depression, with a cast of captivating & quirky characters (everything from bootleggers, and miners, to a gypsy and a nun!) and a main character, Abilene, who will run away with your heart.
I was completely transformed back in time – I felt like I was walking in stride with Abilene. Every clue she uncovered and every story she heard was as if I was learning it with her. It was also particularly endearing because much like Manifest, my ancestors were a part of a small town Manifest-like community – that this book could easily been about their lives.
The only thing I that I regret, was taking far too long to finish (so many obligations this week). This is a book that needs to be read in a day or two to fully embrace the richness of the narrative.
This was absolutely deserving of the Newbery Medal Award this year…and so far, my favorite book of 2011.
For a clip from the author, please check out this related video:
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