Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker jumped off the train in Manifest, Kansas, well before it officially stopped—and for good reason. Abeline was in a bit of a mood. She, who was used to criss-crossing the whole nation alongside of her beloved drifter dad Gideon, was being parked for an entire summer at the dustiest, driest town imaginable while he goes to work a railroad job in another state. In Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpoole, the year is 1938—about 20 summers since her Dad was here as a boy. The whole town, not just the lawns and the gardens, seems like it’s about to blow away in the June wind. What Abilene doesn’t realize is that this seemingly dead place is full of secrets and regrets just waiting to bubble to the surface.
“Pastor” Shady Howard is looking out for her, and so, she finds out, is approximately half the town. Everybody’s curious about the new girl, but she’s just missing her father and wondering about his life here. Then Abilene finds a curious thing—a box filled with letters written between two friends long ago. There are also little pieces of the past—mementoes—that are part of the story the letters tell. She also finds a warning: THE RATTLER is watching!
Who is the Rattler? With her two new friends, Ruthanne and Lettie, Abilene hunts for him and watches in wonder as the town’s amazing and sometimes terrible past is revealed.