Writer: Clare Vanderpool
Publisher: Delacorte Press (2010)
Pages: 351 p
Bought at Kinokuniya Ngee Ann City (SGD 26,09)
In the summer of 1936, Abilene Tucker had to be separated with his father, Gideon, who got a railroad job. Abilene then stayed in Manifest, his father’s old town. She felt abandoned, but at the same time she also tried so hard to investigate her father’s past. She met interesting characters in the town: Miss Sadie, a mysterious diviner who seemed to know a lot about the past – but never mentioned Gideon at all; Hattie Mae, the journalist of Manifest local paper; Sister Redempta, the school’s principal, and also Shady, Gideon’s old friend who lent a room in his shady place for Abilene.
But sadly, no one seemed to know anything about Gideon’s past. Abilene was very disappointed, but unexpectedly, she found another mystery from the old letters she found in her room, about a spy who’d been said lurking in Manifest since 18 years ago, where there was a war. Helped by her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, Abilene tried to solve the mystery, while never gave up to trace her father’s footsteps. But she was not ready to face what really happened in Manifest, tragedy and sadness, and discover things beyond her imagination.
I always have soft spot for Newbery books. And this one is no exception. Manifest is a beautiful and moving book, a perfect combination of stories about journey to the past, handling lost and coping with tragedies. Abilene is a very delicate narrator, and her father, a hole in the story, makes us wonder if he really will come back for Abilene?
With depression background, small town struggles and memories of war, this book has a quite gloomy feel, but somehow it fits perfectly in my heart. I laughed and cried the whole time while reading it. No wonder this book was a Newbery winner. It’s been a while since I gave 5 stars for a book, but this one really deserved it.