I just finished Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I think having it win the 2011 Newbery Medal should give historical fiction writers hope that the genre hasn’t died. Maybe no one really thinks that, but sometimes I’ve wondered when I’ve noted the agents that say they’ll read “everything except historical fiction.”
Also since this was Clare Vanderpool’s debut novel it should give new writers hope that it is possible to be successful.
The book reminded me a bit of Richard Peck’s A Year Down Yonder, which also won a Newbery. There is something endearing to me about books that include a cast of small town characters. I’d like to try writing such a book someday.
On a side note, I read a blog this morning that said the TODAY show broke with their long tradition and did not interview the Newbery or Caldecott medalists. (They chose instead a segment on a reality show.) What a shame that TV execs didn’t recognize the value and worth of good books and reading. If you’d like to pass on any comments/complaints to them, I’ve copied the link to their website: http://networkedblogs.com/cY3HV