The 2011 Newbery Medal winner is Moon Over Manifest which tells the story of Abilene and the townspeople of Manifest, Kansas. Abilene and her dad Gideon have ridden the rails her whole life. When she turns 12, Gideon buys her a real ticket and sends her to Manifest to live with Shady who Gideon had lived with for a while as a youngster. Abilene spends time with Miss Sadie, a diviner and through her, old newpaper clippings and a box of letters and trinkets she found in her room Abilene learns about the people and the town during the years of 1917-1918. Abilene is searching for information about her dad as a boy and Miss Sadie is sharing what has been lying on her heart for years.
The book reminds me of Jelicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, a YA book. Puzzle pieces and clues are being delved out whether you are aware of them or not. The narrative flips back and forth between the two time frames and is occassionaly confusing. Chapter headings and the dates on the letters and newspaper clippings helps to keep things straight. The 1936 history describe dust and dryness and the Great Depression. The 1917-1918 part deals with bootlegging, conmen, immigrants and World World One.
If you enjoy historical fiction and want to read about America in 1936 and 1917-1918 and enjoy a long, leisurely paced book, this one is for you. Moon Over Manifest is not an easy read but as Miss Sadie tells her story and history unwinds and Abilene pieces the puzzle together you will be glad you stuck with it until the end.