Moon Over Manifest makes heavy use of parallel stories. A parallel story is a narrative structure in which the writer includes two or more separate plots linked by a common character and/or theme. Moon Over Manifest begins with Abilene as the protagonist in 1936 Manifest. As she explores the town’s past, Miss Sadie recounts lengthy flashbacks detailing the lives of Jinx and Ned Gillen in 1917-18. In these stories, Jinx is the protagonist. As the novel progresses, the flashbacks grow increasingly central to the story’s main plot and pacing. In fact, comparatively little action takes place in 1936, as Abilene’s main adventures consist of digging up the past. The two stories eventually come together, reaching the climax at the same point and sharing a resolution. The 1918 plotline is not resolved until Jinx (Gideon) returns to Manifest in 1936.
One of the Newbury Medal award winning historical fiction books, Moon Over Manifest contains references to events and realities from the early 1900s. Students may benefit from previewing some of the topics listed below before or during their reading of the novel.