Why did I love this book?
I fell for this book because of the main character’s voice, which is earthy, believable, and funny. “Hard times are a penny for plenty,” Abilene says after hopping off the train in dusty Manifest, Kansas in 1936. “They call it a Depression, but I’d say it’s a downright rut and the whole country’s in it.” Carrying her daddy’s compass and not much else, Abilene boards with a preacher with a “jigsaw life” and seeks to discover her missing daddy’s past. Following her quest, I learned about things like bootlegging, the flu epidemic of 1918, the Great Depression, xenophobia—and a bit about magic elixirs.