Study Guide

Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest Summary

Moon Over Manifest is the story of a girl, who… no, wait, it's actually the story of a boy, who… well, then there's that other part about that other boy… oh, and that one lady's story, too—yikes, whose story is this, anyway?

Well, you could say it's the story of Abilene, a 12-year-old girl used to living rough with her dad during the Great Depression. He sends her to stay with an old friend of his, named Shady, in the town of Manifest for the summer. While she's there, she has an awesome time trying to solve an old town mystery with her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, looking for traces of a spy: the Rattler. She also spends time doing odd jobs for Miss Sadie, a fortune-teller, and while she works, Miss Sadie tells her a story about the town's past.

The weird thing is, you could also say Miss Sadie's story is the main storyline of the book. She tells Abilene about two boys, Jinx and Ned, who become friends in Manifest during World War I. Ned ends up going off to war, but Jinx, a former con artist, stays and helps the poor miners of Manifest, who are totally being oppressed by the rich mine owners. He comes up with a plan to make and sell a "miracle elixir" to people with the Spanish Influenza, so the townspeople can raise enough money to buy a piece of land that the mine owner, Arthur Devlin, needs to continue mining. Once they have it, they can force him to give them better working conditions.

Jinx's crazy-complicated plan is a success, but then his past catches up with him, and his awful uncle almost kills him. When he escapes alive, he thinks he's finally home free—until he hears that Ned has been killed in action. Jinx is so upset that he leaves town forever.

As for Ned, his story is another big part of the book, since we get to read all his letters from the front. Oh, and we also get the skinny on Miss Sadie herself, who turns out to be Ned's biological mother. In the end, all the stories weave themselves together into one big happy ending: Abilene learns that Jinx was actually her dad, and she heals Miss Sadie's sadness, the town's divisions, and her own daddy's heart—all just by digging into the past.

  • Chapter 1

    Chapter 1

    Santa Fe Railway, Southeast Kansas, May 27, 1936

    • Trains make Abilene Tucker sleepy.
    • No, she doesn't have some strange train-related narcolepsy—she's just falling asleep on a train.
    • Or maybe she's just daydreaming. She starts thinking about a town called Manifest, and the awesome stories her daddy, Gideon, used to tell her about living there.
    • Why the "used to?" Well, he's sent her away to Manifest for the summer on her own.
    • Wait, why would this guy send a 12-year-old girl away by herself? Well, apparently, she cut her knee a while back, and it got infected—she almost didn't make it. (Yikes. Thank goodness for modern medicine, right?)
    • So he didn't want her coming along to a rough-and-tumble summertime railroad job he got.
    • And don't worry. Someone will be there in Manifest to pick her up: Pastor Shady Howard.
    • Abilene's got a cool old compass with her. It's broken, but it was her daddy's, so she really treasures it. She's got it all wrapped up in a box lined with an old newspaper from Manifest, which she likes to take out and read sometimes, searching for anything about Gideon.
    • The train conductor announces the Manifest stop, but instead of waiting till they reach the station, Abilene just jumps off while it's still moving.
    • Wait—what? A 12-year-old girl in 1936 just jumped off a moving train by herself?
    • Yup. This girl's definitely has some spunk. She wants to be able to take her time walking into town, so she can check out the place a little.
    • She's obviously done this before. She lands safely, right in front of a sign welcoming visitors to Manifest.


    • Whoa, what's happening?
    • This is one of those primary sources we warned you about in our "In A Nutshell."
    • At the end of most chapters, there's an old-timey newspaper article or a letter from someone—or both.
    • So whenever that happens, we'll let you know what kind of source it is, and what it's all about. Okay? Okay. You're welcome.
    • This particular one is the very first article written by a gal named Hattie Mae for the Manifest Herald.
    • And it turns out, it's from the same edition that Abilene has wrapped around her daddy's compass.
    • Hattie Mae has just graduated from high school, and her uncle has gotten her this job writing a regular column for the paper.
    • Oh yeah—and there's usually an old-fashioned ad for some kooky old medicine under her column, too.
    • This time it's for Billy Bump's Hair Tonic—it'll grow hair back or remove the gray. Pretty impressive, huh? (It won't work. Believe us.)
  • Chapters 2-3

    Chapter 2

    Path to Perdition, May 27, 1936

    • Once Abilene makes sure she didn't drop anything when she jumped, she finds a creek behind some nearby trees and washes her face in it.
    • Okay, so even if she does like jumping out of moving trains, at least she's into personal hygiene. Good to know.
    • She suddenly feels really alone, so she grabs a stick and rattles it along the fences on the way into town, making up funny rhymes to go with the rhythm as she walks.
    • Suddenly, her stick bonks into a gate—and it's a really weird one.
    • It's got all kinds of junk welded into it—forks, horseshoes, kettles—and even the word PERDITION. Interesting…
    • The house behind it looks pretty freaky, too, so Abilene just keeps on walking (and rhyming), but more quietly now.
    • Oh, great—now she's passing a graveyard.
    • She's pretty creeped out by now, and then she hears a noise behind her.
    • She tries to keep the rhymes coming (boy, this girl has got some guts), but a man suddenly finishes her poem for her. Yikes.

    Chapter 3

    Shady's Place, May 27, 1936

    • So there's a dude with a pitchfork behind Abilene.
    • Oh, phew. He's the pastor who was supposed to meet Abilene at the station. And he found her compass—she had dropped something, after all.
    • He figured that she might have jumped, so he came to find her.
    • Is jumping off trains really that common around here? Is this weird, or is it just us?
    • Shady takes her into town, explaining that he's only sort of a pastor; he's just filling in till they find a new one.
    • The town doesn't look at all like Abilene's dad had described it in his stories. But it is the Great Depression, after all.
    • They stop in at the newspaper office, and guess who Abilene gets to meet?
    • Hattie Mae. She still writes that column, and she's totally nice. She gives Abilene a soda and a sandwich and tells her she can take as many old papers to read as she wants.
    • Now for the not-so-nice part: they're sending her to school tomorrow.
    • What?! It's the summer!
    • Not yet, apparently. Tomorrow's the last day of school, and they want her to meet the local kids.
    • There's something weird about the way Shady and Hattie Mae are acting—like maybe Abilene'll be staying for longer than just the summer…
    • Next up, Shady and Abilene head to Shady's house which is… how shall we put this? Totally bizarre. It's half saloon, half church, and half wood shop. And yes, we know that doesn't add up right.
    • Abilene has lived in lots of weird places, she tells us—barns, shacks, abandoned railroad cars—but nothing as weird as this.
    • Shady shows her to her room, upstairs.
    • She hides a bag of her stuff under a floor board and finds a box already hidden there, full of a bunch of letters, a map, and some other odds and ends.
    • As she goes to sleep, she wonders if all that stuff might somehow or other have belonged to her dad.
  • Chapters 4-5

    Chapter 4

    First Morning, May 28, 1936

    • Hey, it's Abilene's first day of school.
    • Hey, it's Abilene's last day of school, too.
    • Shady has made her some (only slightly burnt) breakfast, which makes her feel like she's at a fancy hotel.
    • She eats next to him as he works on fixing Hattie Mae's typewriter, and they trade some totally corny puns about the letters on the broken keys.
    • Then she heads out to school.

    Chapter 5

    Sacred Heart of the Holy Redeemer Elementary School, May 28, 1936

    • Abilene's got a theory about schools.
    • She's been in and out of so many that she feels like she knows what the kids here will be like before she even meets them.
    • She says kids are universals. Say what?
    • It's like, there are always certain types of kids in each class, you know? The snobby ones, the poor ones, the nice ones…
    • The kids start in on her right away, asking if she's an orphan. Her response? She tells them that her mom's in a better place.
    • Of course, they all think that she died, but that's just Abilene's way of saying she ran off and left her and her dad to join a dance troupe in New Orleans. A better place, eh?
    • But then she tells them she has a daddy, and that he's just sent her here for the summer.
    • Some kids—Lettie, Ruthanne, and Billy—want to get to know her, but one of those pesky universals—a snobby snob named Charlotte—starts snobbing it up.
    • She doesn't want to talk to someone who lives in a saloon right nearby Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor.
    • So that's why that gate said Perdition. It belongs to a fortune teller.
    • Suddenly, the teacher, Sister Redempta, comes in.
    • She gives out everyone's report cards and then gives Abilene a summertime assignment. Awww man.
    • She's supposed to write a story, and Sister asks for some volunteers from the class to help her out. (Well, that's not so bad…)
    • You know how everyone avoids eye contact with a teacher when she asks for volunteers?
    • Well, Lettie brushes away a fly, so that gets her noticed.
    • Then Ruthanne laughs at her, and she wins the job of second volunteer. Ha.
    • Finally, snobby Charlotte offers to help her… get some nicer clothes. Sister tells her not to bother.
    • As Abilene puts it, "Snooty rich girl. A universal" (5.53).
  • Chapters 6-7

    Chapter 6

    Fort Treeconderoga, May 28, 1936

    • Back at Shady's place, Abilene gets out the box she discovered the night before and heads for the old, broken-down treehouse in his yard to take a closer look at it in secret.
    • Inside, she finds a cork, a fishhook, a silver dollar, a key, and a tiny wooden doll, along with a homemade map and a stack of letters addressed to someone named Jinx.
    • Abilene's bummed that it's not her daddy's stuff, but she reads one of the letters.
    • Uh-oh. Primary Source Alert.

    LETTER FROM NED TO JINX, January 15, 1918

    • Ned tells Jinx he's writing to him from the train. He made the map to help Jinx understand what to protect from the Rattler, a local spy, while the war's on. (World War I, that is.) He also left him some mementos: his silver dollar, fishing lure, and key.
    • Back to the 30s. Abilene is excited by the mystery of it all, but right then, Lettie and Ruthanne call up to her.
    • They climb up into the treehouse and surprise her with some lunch. Well, golly gee, that's nice of them.
    • But when they start asking about the letters she's clutching, she gets all defensive and mean. Give her a break, she is new in town…
    • The girls are about to leave, with their feelings totally stomped on, but then Abilene makes an effort to be nicer and lets them in on the secret of the spy map. Three cheers for friends.

    Chapter 7

    Main Street, Manifest, May 28, 1936

    • Okay, so Abilene's not giving everything away. She only shows Lettie and Ruthanne the first letter, and the map—nothing else.
    • They realize it's just a map of Manifest, but they decide to walk around town asking people if they've ever heard of the Rattler.
    • Apparently no one has, so they start trailing Mr. Underhill, the undertaker, for a while. Good advice, by the way: when in doubt, follow the undertaker.
    • Nothing suspicious there—creepy, yes, but not really suspicious—so they head back to the tree house…
    • …where they find a note nailed to the tree.
    • It says, "Leave Well Enough Alone." OMG.
    • The girls are freaked out, but still determined to find out more tomorrow.
    • After Lettie and Ruthanne leave, Abilene realizes that she's lost her compass again. Man. This girl needs a fanny pack or something.
    • She walks back to the cemetery, alone, in the dark, looking for it. Talk about guts.
    • As she walks, she hears wind chimes tinkling, and when she looks over at the source—Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor—she sees her compass hanging among them. Whaaat?
    • She sneaks up to the porch and uses a big pot to climb up and reach the compass.
    • But she's totally startled when she realizes there's someone sitting on the porch in the dark, and she falls off, breaks the pot, and runs back to Shady's as fast as she can.
  • Chapters 8-9

    Chapter 8

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, May 29, 1936

    • The next morning, Abilene discovers that the bar in the saloon-half of Shady's home has a secret panel that can be moved to hide any traces of drinking. Whoa.
    • Alcohol is still against the law here, even though Prohibition ended a short time ago, but that doesn't stop the bootleggers.
    • Abilene is used to seeing alcohol, though, since she's grown up around a bunch of men going through hard times.
    • She decides to sneak back to Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor to get her compass, but when she gets there, it's been taken down. Talk about rotten luck.
    • She creeps inside to see if she can find it, but just then, Miss Sadie, the Hungarian fortune-teller, comes in.
    • You'd think she'd be all like, why are you in my house, kid? But instead, she offers to tell her fortune.
    • Abilene declines, but pays her a dime anyway, hoping that'll get her to cough up her compass.
    • Suddenly, she blurts out a request after all. She says she's looking for her daddy.
    • Miss Sadie asks if she has something that he's touched.
    • Abilene decides to see just how good this medium really is, and gives her the old letter she found at Shady's.
    • It seems to get Miss Sadie all worked up, and she starts telling Abilene a story about a boy on a train.

    Chapter 9

    Triple Toe Creek, Crawford County, Kansas, October 6, 1917

    • Now here's where the storytelling starts to get a bit complicated. This chapter begins the story that Miss Sadie tells Abilene. Notice how the chapter title has jumped back in time to 1917?
    • A 13-year-old kid named Jinx jumps out of a train and lands near a teen couple having an argument.
    • Okay, seriously, what is the deal with people jumping out of trains? Is it like an obsession with them?
    • So anyway, the girl storms off, and the guy, Ned, stays to mope there with the fish he just caught.
    • Jinx starts trying to sell him a bottle of "Eskimo glacial water" that he swears up and down will make him more attractive to the ladies.
    • The poor kid actually buys it—with the fish he caught. He tells Jinx all about the awesome "Wiggle King" lure he used to catch it with.
    • After he leaves, Jinx just lazes around in the woods, waiting for another train to hop.
    • It turns out he's got some sort of dark past, involving a death. His uncle Finn had told him it'd be better if they split up, so he's on his own now.
    • While he's lying around, Ned comes back, furious. All that "glacial water" did was make him stink.
    • But before they can get into a fight, they hear a gunshot, and run off to hide together in the woods.
    • Looks like they've run right into a Ku Klux Klan meeting.
    • Oh, man. This is not good.
    • They try to sneak past the loud group, who are all gathered around a huge bonfire.
    • As they walk, they overhear the men talking about how much they hate foreigners, and they see two of the guys take their hoods off.
    • Ned tells Jinx that the guys are Arthur Devlin, who owns the mine in town, and Lester Burton, the pit boss.
    • They're so powerful in town, they don't feel like they need to hide their identities under the white hoods.
    • They're talking about plans to rough up some of the Irish, French, and Italians in Manifest.
    • Jinx asks Ned where he's from, but Ned doesn't know—he came to Manifest on a train as a child and was adopted by the Gillen family there.
    • Suddenly, Jinx gets an idea.
    • He sneaks over to retrieve two discarded white hoods and robes, and he and Ned put them on.
    • Then they walk casually through the crowd, trying to make their escape. Brilliant.
    • But uh-oh—out of nowhere, Lester Burton is blocking their path.
    • Jinx thinks fast, stays cool, and tells Lester that the last KKK rally they went to was much bigger.
    • It's enough to fool Lester, so they head over to the outhouse. The outhouse? Really? Is this the best time?
    • As a parting shot, Jinx replaces the newspaper scraps they had for toilet paper with… poison ivy.
    • After this lovely little prank, they make a clean getaway.
  • Chapters 10-11

    Chapter 10

    A Bargain Is Struck, May 29, 1936

    • Miss Sadie's done with her story… for now.
    • And Abilene's kinda mad.
    • She tells her she wanted to know about her daddy, not hear a story about some random kids from 20 years ago. You tell her, Abilene.
    • Miss Sadie tells her that's what she gets for giving her the letter to divine with.
    • Then she hints, pretty strongly, that she'd like Abilene to get some ointment down from a shelf for her. She needs it for an infected cut on her leg.
    • While she rubs it into the nasty-looking cut (in front of a paying customer? Weird…), she tells Abilene that they need to settle the matter of her broken pot, which she had brought all the way from Hungary. Oh. Um… whoops?
    • Abilene tells her that if she hadn't stolen her compass, then she wouldn't have broken her pot. Is this gal spunky, or what?
    • But Miss Sadie says she didn't know it belonged to her; she just found it on her property.
    • Finally, Miss Sadie tells her that she can have her compass back if she'll do some odd jobs for her over the summer. Abilene agrees. (We're thinking those jobs are likely to be pretty odd, alright.)
    • When Abilene gets home, she takes another look at the fishing lure from the box.
    • Yep, it's called the "Wiggle King." How in the world did Miss Sadie know that?

    Chapter 11

    Likely Suspects, May 30, 1936

    • The next morning, Abilene lies in bed thinking how much she really knows about her daddy and whether she had just imagined him saying he'd be back for her at the end of the summer.
    • She decides to keep the fishing lure out on her windowsill, now that it has sort of a special meaning. Or a creepy one. Take your pick.
    • Heading down for breakfast, she is determined to make herself so useful to Shady that he won't want her to go over to Miss Sadie's.
    • Good plan…
    • But he's hung over and wants to take a nap. And besides, he already knows Miss Sadie's expecting her. (Dang.)
    • He was probably drinking because he tried to hold a church service the night before—and only one guy showed up. That's gotta hurt.
    • But even when the guy's depressed, he's still thoughtful; he found her a jump rope.
    • She asks him about her daddy, but she doesn't get much out of him. Well, he is hung over…
    • Right then, Lettie and Ruthanne come over to get Abilene to go scout around for the Rattler some more.
    • That reminds her to go grab a newspaper clipping she took from one of Hattie Mae's old papers. But she tells the girls she can't come along, because she has to go work off her debt.


    • Biggest news in town is the fact that a few of the local men have been buying huge quantities of calamine lotion. Ha.
    • Burt's Bottoms Up: an ad for the very best hemorrhoid medicine money can buy.
  • Chapters 12-13

    Chapter 12

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, May 30, 1936

    • Lettie and Ruthanne walk with their new bud Abilene over to Miss Sadie's while she tells them about the weird story. She also lets them read Hattie Mae's column in the paper.
    • They leave her there, warning her that Miss Sadie's probably a witch (way to encourage her on her first day of work there), and she heads inside.
    • Miss Sadie is out back and gets Abilene to start digging a garden for her. The soil is so dry, though, that Abilene can't imagine what she could possibly plant.
    • As she digs, she asks Miss Sadie about the Ku Klux Klan and Jinx and Ned to get her to continue her story.
    • Turns out Ned took Jinx to Shady's place, and Shady let him stay with him. Aww, isn't he nice?
    • Miss Sadie tells her that Manifest was a town of immigrants: people coming to America by boat to make better lives for themselves by working at the coal mine there.
    • But they didn't realize how horrible the conditions were in the mines and how crazy-hard they work the miners.
    • And just as Abilene had hoped, Miss Sadie starts into the next part of her story. Yes.

    Chapter 13

    The Art of Distraction, October 27, 1917

    • And we're back to Miss Sadie's story.
    • Jinx is actually leading a normal life for once, even going to school in Manifest now.
    • He's sitting on a bike, waiting for Ned to finish his shift in the mine.
    • Slowly, groups of miners start coming up in the elevator, grouped by nationality. Devlin, the owner (and head jerk), likes to keep them separated like that.
    • Speaking of Devlin, he's yelling at a geologist nearby for making some mistake about where exactly the coal is. Nice guy, huh?
    • And who shows up now, but jerk number two: Lester Burton, the pit boss. He hangs up a notice sent out by the U.S. government.
    • Yikes. This primary source is a doozy.


    • The government basically wants people to start spying on any Germans or Austrians in America and reporting anything suspicious.
    • Feeling the love yet?
    • Burton makes a big deal out of Ned's unknown background, and then bullies him into taking another shift—right now. After he just came up from a long shift. Man, maybe he should get promoted to jerk number one…
    • Ned tells Jinx it's because he beats Devlin's son at track meets all the time. It's revenge.
    • And since they only pay the workers in vouchers for the mine's company store—not money—there's no way for him to move up in the world and get away by working harder or anything.
    • Jinx tells Ned to meet him at the fair after his second shift, and they can take a look at the fireworks for sale there. That'll cheer him up.
    • At the fair, Jinx tricks the fireworks salesman into telling him the recipe for the very best firecrackers.
    • Then Jinx helps Ned outsmart the guy with the shell game and win a dollar. Wow—this kid is good.
    • He tells Ned it's all about the art of distraction. Then he shows him that he was able to "borrow" one of the firecrackers to get a good look at how it's put together so they can make their own. Dude.
  • Chapters 14-15

    Chapter 14

    Frog Hunting, June 5, 1936

    • Abilene has the silver dollar that Ned won at the fair out on her windowsill now, too.
    • She's had some time off from working for Miss Sadie because customers keep coming in to see her. Fortune telling must be big business.
    • But Abilene's just dying to know how the story continues.
    • Lettie and Ruthanne come over so they can all go frog hunting. You know, a perfectly normal pastime...
    • Lettie's mom is going to fry their legs for dinner. Yum.
    • While they're at it out in the woods, Abilene happens upon a random gravestone. And just then—they hear a scream. (Is it the Rattler? His latest victim? A terrified frog?)
    • Nope. It came from a nice little house nearby. And soon, so does Sister Redempta.
    • It turns out to be Billy's house, and Sister just delivered his new baby brother.
    • The girls rush home so Lettie and Ruthanne can tell their moms.

    Chapter 15

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, June 6, 1936

    • Walking to Miss Sadie's the next day, Abilene gets a little creeped out thinking about that lonely grave in the woods.
    • She starts up her rhyming game again, but it doesn't help much, so she starts walking through the bushes for cover.
    • When she pops out again, she runs right into Sister Redempta…
    • … who tells her that the orphans she used to help care for used to make up rhymes, too. (Well, at least she's not mad?)
    • Then she reminds her about her assignment and tells her it might be a good idea to look up the word "manifest" in the dictionary. (Ah, teachers and dictionaries—the love affair that never dies.)
    • Abilene finally makes it to Miss Sadie's, where she's supposed to start planting seeds in that bone-dry garden.
    • Miss Sadie knows about Billy's mom having a baby and is sending her some smooshed-up herbs for tea. Yum?
    • Abilene mentions seeing Sister there, looking almost normal, with her veil off and her sleeves rolled up.
    • Miss Sadie tells her that "the person you encounter is often more than the person you see" (15.37).
    • Huh?
    • And with that, she's back to the story. Hooray.
  • Chapter 16

    Chapter 16

    The Victory Quilt, October 27, 1917

    • Still at the fair, Ned heads over to Mrs. Larkins's table.
    • She's the president of the Manifest chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she's sponsoring a quilt auction.
    • She's also the mother of Pearl Ann, the girl Ned was arguing with when Jinx first arrived. Aha. That's why he's headed over to her table.
    • Oh, cute. A mini primary source.


    • Each lady should submit a square for the quilt, and when President Woodrow Wilson visits, he'll sign it. Then they'll auction it off and use the money to support the troops.
    • Sounds cool, right?
    • Ned starts sweet-talking Pearl Ann until her mother calls her away.
    • Pearl Ann explains that her mom doesn't feel like she knows someone unless she knows their family. And poor Ned's adopted, so she doesn't really approve.
    • Just then, Arthur Devlin comes by and takes Pearl Ann's mother for a walk. So that's the type of person she prefers to be around? Go figure.
    • And oh great. Now Devlin's son, Lance, shows up. He's in uniform.
    • He tells Ned he bribed the army officials by giving them $25, so they overlooked the fact that he's not 18 yet.
    • And of course, he then proceeds to diss Ned for being poor, adopted, a slow runner, and a possible spy. Wow—totally mean, but you gotta be impressed he covered so many topics in so few insults.
    • Cut to December 1st, and Miss Sadie is turning in a quilt square to Mrs. Larkin. Mrs. Larkin won't even open her screen door for her, though.
    • She tells her the quilt is full and it wouldn't be appropriate for her to contribute a square anyway, since she's a fortune-teller. Snob.
    • Miss Sadie curses her—actually curses her—and Mrs. Larkin is horribly upset. Ha.
    • All through December, Jinx and Ned work on making firecrackers to sell. They use an old abandoned mine shaft that Shady uses for making alcohol, too.
    • Ned asks Jinx how he got so good at conning people, and Jinx tells him his story. (Yep, it's a story within a story within a story...)
    • When both of his parents died, his uncle Finn, a con man himself, took Jinx on as an assistant.
    • He'd pretend to have some problem that would be miraculously cured by whatever potion Finn was trying to sell.
    • But there was one time when Jinx heard a pretty cool preacher talking, and it was so different from the mean things Finn always said to him that he couldn't get it out of his head.
    • And that night, a guy named Junior shows up to talk to Finn after he's made his sales.
    • He used to work with Finn, but now he pulls a knife on him and demands all his money. Talk about going crazy.
    • Finn grabs the knife away and makes Jinx tie Junior up. But he ties him loosely, because he's sick of doing what Finn says.
    • Finn notices, though, and knocks Jinx out. Seriously? Nice uncle.
    • When he comes to, Finn tells him that he—Jinx—killed Junior, and shows him the body. What? What?!
    • Of course, the sheriff comes after them soon, so they split up.
    • Ned tells him it couldn't be his fault, but Jinx figures he doesn't have a chance in court either way.
    • They put the firework Jinx "borrowed" back together, so they can return it.
    • And then they make a fortune selling their homemade ones: $50.75, to be exact. That's huge, especially back in the day.
    • Jinx gets in trouble with Shady once the local kids start blowing things up, but Ned uses his share of the money to get signed up for the army, just like Lance.

    HATTIE MAE'S NEWS AUXILIARY: January 2, 1918

    • President Woodrow Wilson stops into town on a train as he's making a tour of the Midwest.
    • Somehow or other, some fireworks blow up the water tower, which drenches the president and the victory quilt. (Hmmm… now how could that have happened?)
    • Even though the president's signature was almost washed out, Shady "persuades" Jinx to buy it—for $25.75.
    • Velma T.'s Vitamin Revitalizer: The most reasonable-sounding medicine ad yet—it's just vitamins.


    • Ned writes Jinx from his army camp, where he's in training. He tells him Heck and Holler, two other boys from town, are there too, and hints that they'll all be heading to France soon.
  • Chapter 17

    Chapter 17

    Under the Stars, June 12, 1936

    • Abilene shares everything she hears from Miss Sadie with Lettie and Ruthanne. Well, duh. They're BFFs now.
    • They think her curse is what ruined Mrs. Larkins's quilt. Creepy.
    • The three of them are actually on an errand for Miss Sadie right now. She told Abilene to go find a young cottonwood tree at moonlight and to keep her eyes open. Okay…
    • She gave her a bucket to bring back whatever it is she'll find. Hmmm… also creepy.
    • They find a grove, sit down, and sing and share the food they brought to pass the time.
    • Ruthanne starts to tell a spooky story about the time her uncle saw a man getting chased by a ghost rattling through the woods.
    • The man was so scared that he backed into an animal trap. But when her uncle came back the next day, they only found a boot in the trap—with the foot still in it. (Ahhh!)
    • Since then, people say they sometimes hear the ghost rattling through the woods at night. Gulp.
    • Abilene wonders if the ghost is the Rattler they've been looking for.
    • And then they see what Miss Sadie sent them for: suddenly, hundreds of big juicy worms have appeared in the dirt by the young trees. Whoa.
    • They gather a bucketful, and then Lettie and Ruthanne accompany Abilene home to spend the night. (Worm parties rock.)
    • As Abilene falls asleep, she thinks about the power that stories have.


    • Ned tells Jinx that a lot of the guys in the camp are sick, but he's been taking Velma T.'s medicines, and is still doing okay.


    • This year's senior class has just graduated, but since some of the senior boys are already soldiers, they weren't able to be there.
    • The girls are raising money for them, though, and Velma T. is recruiting chemistry students to help her make more of her elixir for them.
    • Old St. Jack's Lumbago Liniment: It may stain your skin, but it stops your pain. (Supposedly…)
  • Chapters 18

    Chapter 18

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, June 13, 1936

    • Abilene brings the worms to Miss Sadie, and she puts her to work hoeing rows in the garden.
    • Miss Sadie's in an awful mood because it's hot and her leg is much worse. (Wouldn't you be grumpy, too?)
    • Finally, Abilene works up the courage to ask her what the curse was that she had used on Mrs. Larkin. Miss Sadie responds that it was this: "May your life be as long as the hair on your chin" (18.10).
    • Zing.
    • As she hoes, Abilene thinks about her dad again and wonders why he sent her away. Poor thing.
    • She remembers how she cut her own knee on a tree branch one as she dangled her legs from a moving boxcar.
    • The infection from it had made her delirious for days, and when she was finally better, her daddy started treating her differently.
    • Miss Sadie suddenly, randomly tells her that Jinx thought it was his fault that Ned left to join the army.
    • Abilene asks her if Jinx left town after Ned did, and that starts her off into the story again.
  • Chapter 19

    Chapter 19

    Elixir of Life, July 12, 1918

    • Jinx spends the summer doing odd jobs, like welding. Turns out he's the one who made Miss Sadie's awesomely unusual gate. Cool.
    • He also helps Velma T. make her elixir, and Sister makes him do a few assignments, too. Not so cool…
    • But mostly he fishes. He finally feels safe from his uncle and the sheriff.
    • Shady's cleaning up his saloon in the morning after having a slow night.
    • No Germans showed up because they were meeting about the awful conditions in the mines.
    • Jinx brings in a huge catfish he just caught, and when it weighs in at just under ten pounds, Shady sticks an apple in its mouth to tip the scale.
    • Just then, Sheriff Dean comes in.
    • He's there to pick up his illegal alcohol. Wait—the sheriff?
    • He also tells Shady that he's on the lookout for a pair of guys—one older, one younger—who killed a man a few months back. Dun dun dun…
    • The sheriff of the town where it happened is his brother-in-law, so he asked Sheriff Dean to help him.
    • He starts looking around Shady's place, finds another jug of whiskey, and tells him he'd better give him twice as much by tomorrow, or he'll shut him down. Sounds more like the mafia than a sheriff.
    • Shady tells him he can't make it that fast, so Sheriff Dean takes Jinx's catfish—and says he'll be back tomorrow. Ugh.
    • After he leaves, Shady tells Jinx he knows he's involved, but he also can tell it wasn't his fault. Such a good guy.
    • Smelling the cork from the whiskey, Jinx has an idea. He tells Shady to meet him in the alley behind Velma T.'s that night.
    • They meet in a dark shed, where Velma T. has had Jinx bottling her elixir.
    • Jinx shows Shady that Velma's medicines smell like whiskey, too, and suggests that he give some of her stuff to Sheriff Dean tomorrow. Maybe he won't be able to tell the difference.
    • They decide to take some of her elixir now and refill her half-empty jugs with Shady's whiskey as soon as it's ready.
    • A few nights later, they're back, refilling her bottles. Sheriff Dean didn't notice a thing—and neither did Velma T. Victory!
    • As they head back home, though, they see a cross burning in front of the German Fraternal Hall—the Ku Klux Klan has left their calling card.


    • The town is feeling pretty low after the cross burning. And on top of that, people are starting to get sick.
    • Mrs. Larkin was feeling bad, so she took some of Velma T.'s elixir before attending her Women's Temperance League meeting. And hmmm, for some reason, she was acting pretty goofy afterwards…
    • Also, sadly, a widow in town—the Widow Cane—has died.
    • Sizer's Stomach Tablets: Get rid of all your gas tonight.
  • Chapters 20-21

    Chapter 20

    Dead or Alive, June 17, 1936

    • Abilene's friends are out of town for a funeral, so she's got nothing better to do than hunt for plants and bugs for Miss Sadie.
    • She stops in to Hattie Mae's office to take a look at some more old newspapers, but ends up asking her why no one in Manifest seems to know very much about her daddy.
    • They talk about how much Abilene misses him, and then Billy shows up.
    • He tells her that Sister Redempta brought them over some ginger tea from Miss Sadie for the baby. So let us get this straight: the nun and the fortune-teller hang out?
    • Billy leaves to go deliver papers, and Abilene goes to the train tracks to find the flowers Miss Sadie needs.
    • As she walks on the tracks, she imagines a train coming, bringing her daddy to her.
    • She's sure got a vivid imagination. She can almost hear the train, feel the vibrations—and then she realizes there's a real train right behind her. Argh.
    • She jumps off the tracks just in time, and then watches the train pass, aching to jump on. It almost kills her, and she still wants a ride?
    • But then Shady's there with her.
    • Looks like he was out all night drinking, and Abilene almost tells him she has an old whiskey cork of his on her windowsill.
    • He asks if she'll be home for supper, but she's got more plants to find first. Back to work.

    Chapter 21

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, June 17, 1936

    • When Abilene finally gets all the flowers on her list, she heads back to Miss Sadie's.
    • She doesn't see her anywhere, so she looks around for a pot or vase to put the flowers in until she gets back.
    • There's a shed in the back, so Abilene tries to peek through the window to see if there's a pot in there…
    • …when Miss Sadie suddenly appears and yells at her to get away. Oops.
    • She examines the flowers and then takes them apart, piece by piece.
    • She tells Abilene to get back to hoeing the garden (poor Abilene), but then starts telling more of the story.
    • The Widow Cane's death has opened up a weird new situation for the town.
    • She owned some property near the woods, and now Mr. Devlin wants to buy it—the geologists say there's ore underground.
  • Chapter 22

    Chapter 22

    No-Man's-Land, July 20, 1918

    • Jinx comes in to show Shady how much money he's made selling Velma T.'s new and improved elixir around town. Sure is popular now.
    • Shady makes him hide under the secret panel on his bar because he's having a meeting.
    • One or two representatives of each nationality in town start showing up. But one of Lester Burton's mine crew members happens to stop by, too. Uh oh.
    • He gets suspicious and doesn't believe Shady's (pitiful) excuses for why all these people are showing up, so he leaves angry.
    • A little girl there with her parents notices Jinx through a tiny hole in the wood. She keeps showing him her little wooden doll, and he hopes that no one else will figure out what she's doing.
    • Then Mrs. Larkin shows up, ready to yell at Shady about Jinx… until she sees everyone there.
    • Mr. Gillen, who called the meeting, tells her she can stay. She sure wasn't invited, though.
    • He explains to the group that the miners now finally have a way to bargain for better conditions. See, Devlin needs the Widow Cane's land to keep mining in the area, but right now, it doesn't belong to anyone.
    • If the town buys it instead of Devlin, they've got him over a barrel: he'll have to work with them, if he wants to keep mining.
    • The problem is that the land costs $1000, and all the miners are only paid in store vouchers.
    • The miners consider making things to sell, but they're terrified that mean ol' Devlin will find out and fire them.
    • Soon enough, Miss Sadie reminds them of how much their families back in Europe sacrificed to send them to America so they could have a better life. Go American Dream.
    • Her words get them excited, and they start trying to think of ways to raise the money after all.
    • Poor Jinx has been getting pretty cramped in his hiding spot, so he moves just a tiny bit—and of course, knocks over a bottle.
    • Before he knows it, he's yanked out of hiding and being yelled at by Mrs. Larkin, who wants him arrested for selling spiked elixir.
    • But then Mr. Gillen realizes they could raise the money by selling the alcoholic elixir.
    • Aha.
    • He asks Jinx for his advice, and as usual, Jinx has a plan—and it's one that gets the sheriff out of his hair, too. Man, he's good.

    MANIFEST HERALD: July 21, 1918

    • The Spanish influenza is spreading. Doctors say not to panic, but we know better (we've seen Downton Abbey). Hattie Mae is too sick to write this week. 
    • Healing Spring Waters: This stuff ain't bottled—you gotta get to Arkansas and soak in it to cure what ails ya.


    • Ned tells Jinx he's at the front and pretty miserable. He, Heck, and Holler have been made runners; they're supposed to deliver orders and supplies back and forth. The last runner was just shot.
  • Chapters 23-24

    Chapter 23

    One Short, One Long, July 3, 1936

    • Reading and hearing all this sad stuff from the past is really bringing Abilene down, so she decides to have some fun in the present day.
    • She's jumping rope with Lettie and Ruthanne. (Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish…)
    • Abilene thinks about the little wooden doll that's on her windowsill now and how much she wishes that Jinx was actually her dad as a kid.
    • She doesn't understand why her dad isn't in any of Miss Sadie's stories. It is kind of weird, isn't it?
    • The girls keep trying to figure out who the Rattler might be, and finally, they decide to go to the post office to look around. Hmmm… spies at the post office? Well, maybe…
    • Abilene gets separated from them by accident, and ends up running from a bulldog onto an old lady's porch—with the old lady on it.
    • She's good at bumbling onto porches without noticing the people sitting there, huh?
    • She invites her to Shady's church service on Sunday—that's thinking on her feet—and then rejoins her friends.
    • They're spying on the mailman, who's sticking a secretive note into Velma T.'s mailbox. Oooh, someone's got a secret crush.
    • Then he sits down to take a telegraph message coming in.
    • Abilene can understand Morse code, so she knows it says stuff like "Miss you" and "Home soon."
    • She runs away, holding back tears, because she wishes her daddy would send her a message like that, too.

    Chapter 24

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, July 3, 1936

    • She runs to Miss Sadie's house, but the fortune teller is in a worse mood than ever and makes Abilene work inside—making sure she stays away from the garden shed. 
    • But Abilene manages to get her telling her story again…
  • Chapter 25

    Chapter 25

    The Walls Go Up, August 15, 1918

    • Suddenly, everyone in Manifest is showing symptoms of the Spanish influenza. Oh no.
    • Lester Burton, Arthur Devlin, and Sheriff Dean all decide to take little vacations away from the town, so they don't get sick, too. The jerks.
    • And finally, the county medical examiner puts the town under official quarantine. No one can leave or enter.
    • One by one, the townspeople start coming outside and washing off the make-up they'd used to trick the doctor and their bosses.
    • They all get right to work making Velma T.'s elixir, mixed with Shady's whiskey.
    • As they work, they share their stories about coming to America.
    • They had all been scared they wouldn't be let in to the country. When they arrived, they had to pass a health screening, and if they failed, they were sent right back home.
    • While the ladies shuck corn, the men build a few more stills, and Shady teaches them how to make whiskey.
    • Meanwhile, Velma T. has her mixture ready to add to it.
    • She's a little upset that her medicine never really worked all that well till it was mixed with whiskey, but she's willing to go with it.
    • Mrs. Larkin has stayed in town and disapproves of the whole thing. No one knows why she stayed, and they just hope she doesn't get them all in trouble.
    • They decide to use the huge baptistery in the Baptist church to mix the whiskey into the elixir. Mrs. Larkin is not pleased.
    • Shady leads them in prayer, and they start mixing.

    MANIFEST HERALD: September 15, 1918

    • People all over America, as well as the troops overseas, are coming down with the influenza. And people are dying. A lot of people.


    • Ned's getting homesick, so he reminisces about stuff from Manifest—like one of his pals writing a poem—"Ode to the Rattler"—in the classroom. The war's getting him down, poor guy.
  • Chapters 26-28

    Chapter 26

    Ode to the Rattler, July 4, 1936

    • The girls have found some firecrackers to set off.
    • They decide to sneak into the school first to see if they can find that old "Ode to the Rattler" poem anywhere.
    • In the senior classroom, it hits Abilene: if a student wanted to write a secret message, he'd do it on the underside of the hinged desktop.
    • They check all the desks, and sure enough, find a bunch of funny rhymes—and eventually, the "Ode to the Rattler."
    • But suddenly, they hear a noise. The janitor is in the hallway, getting ready to wax the floor.
    • The girls run back to the closet window they came in through, but when Abilene boosts the other two out, she's stuck inside. Yikes.
    • She heads back to the classroom to think.
    • While she's there, she looks up the word "manifest" in the dictionary (talk about dedication to her studies), and finds out it can mean "to reveal" as well as "a list of passengers on a ship."
    • Suddenly she realizes it's gone quiet. The doorknob to her classroom starts to turn… when out of the blue, fireworks start exploding at the end of the hallway.
    • The janitor runs to see what's going on, and Abilene dashes outside, back to her friends. Jailbreak.

    Chapter 27

    Drawing Straws, July 11, 1936

    • As Abilene walks through town over the next few days, people keep stopping her to tell her to be careful in her spy hunt. It kind of starts freaking her out.
    • One Sunday, Shady actually gets a halfway decent crowd at his church service: eight people.
    • It's a potluck, too, and Hattie Mae brought a cake. Yummers.
    • Abilene says it could win at a county fair and asks if they've ever had a fair in Manifest.
    • Um, apparently that was the wrong thing to say, because no one says anything and it gets all awkward.
    • But then they start reminiscing about the fair.
    • Well, then.
    • Abilene is upset that she didn't have a story to share; she is "all middle," without knowing her roots or where she was headed.
    • But when the old lady from that porch tells a story about her daughter at the fair, Abilene cheers up.

    Chapter 28

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, July 15, 1936

    • After the service, Abilene runs over to the town cemetery, to see if she can find out whatever happened to the old lady's daughter.
    • Not dead. Okay, that's good.
    • She stops by Miss Sadie's, who jumps right back into her story…
  • Chapter 29

    Chapter 29

    Distribution, September 1, 1918

    • People far and wide already know about Velma T.'s "miracle elixir" before the quarantine. Apparently, it was really curing folks.
    • So the town has a ton of customers, who meet Shady and Jinx in the abandoned mine shaft in the woods to buy it.
    • People just pay what they can. Wow, even when they're desperate for money, Manifest people are kind. That totally rocks.
    • One day, Jinx freaks a bit, thinking he sees Finn in line, but he's not sure.
    • As Shady and Jinx leave one evening, Sheriff Dean shows up, suspicious. Oh, great.
    • They convince him they've just got mustard seeds for sick people, but he tells them he'll be watching them. Especially since Finn has been sighted in the area, and Sheriff Dean figures he's looking for his old partner. Oh, and he suspects Jinx.
    • They tell the town and find out that Lester Burton's been calling every day, too, trying to see if anyone's well enough to work yet.
    • Some people seem to blame Jinx, but Shady tells them they should just keep making the elixir till they can figure out how to distribute it again. Thanks, Shady.
    • A few days later, the first death in town is reported. Ugh.
    • Some men carry the heavy coffin out to the woods to bury when Lester Burton suddenly shows up.
    • He demands to see the body, so they open the casket halfway. But the stink is so bad that Burton says to go ahead and bury him.
    • Once he's gone, their awesome trick is revealed: it's a dead pig inside the coffin, along with a bunch of bottles of—what else?—the elixir.
    • They figure they must have a mole in town, who told Burton they'd be there.
    • But soon their customers are back, and they're in business again.


    • Ned's sergeant was just killed, and he's reminiscing about how great he was. War stinks.
  • Chapter 30

    Chapter 30

    A Dying Breath, August 7, 1936

    • It's almost time for school to start up again, and Lettie's sad that they haven't found the Rattler yet.
    • Abilene tries to think of what Jinx would do to find out. Well, what else? He'd use some kind of a con.
    • She pretends to be divining from the note that was nailed to their tree, and then it hits her—the handwriting. (Maybe some of Miss Sadie's magic is rubbing off on her.)
    • They run to tell Hattie Mae that she should have a contest where people write in. That way, the girls can compare the handwriting.


    • Looks like there was a mix-up last week—Billy delivered some old papers from WWI by accident. So Hattie Mae has decided to hold a "Remember When" contest: readers should send in their memories from 1918, and the best one wins $5.
  • Chapters 31-32

    Chapter 31

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, August 11, 1936

    • It wasn't really a mistake that Billy delivered those old papers from 1918—and Hattie Mae is all excited about the contest.
    • She doesn't know that it's really all about people's handwriting, though.
    • At Miss Sadie's again, Abilene is making tea.
    • And Miss Sadie starts right in with her story…

    Chapter 32

    Day of Reckoning, September 28, 1918

    • Out of the blue, Devlin, Burton, and the county medical examiner arrive in Manifest on a train.
    • Devlin pronounces the town cured, but the doctor says he needs to examine them all first.
    • How did they know it was safe to come back?
    • Devlin makes a big deal of telling everyone he expects them back at the mines, and then he spends some time talking to Mrs. Larkin.
    • Hmmm… was she the mole?
    • He's on a jerk-y roll today—even tells Mrs. Larkin her late husband was a chump—but Pearl Ann rushes out of the train to her mom, so he leaves her alone.
    • Stupid ol' Devlin makes all miners work double shifts. If you refused, you'd be fired.
    • On October 1st, the day the $1000 had to be paid, they only have $740.
    • They gather at Shady's bar, when suddenly Burton walks in and tells them he knows all about their scheme. Uh oh.
    • He threatens to start rumors among the rest of the miners that it was one of them who told him. That way, they'd blame them for their double work shifts and docked pay.
    • A stranger walks into the bar with a briefcase and orders some water. (No, this is not the beginning of a joke.)
    • Burton makes fun of him, and tells him to have some miracle whiskey instead.
    • But the new guy takes the water, puts some fizzy powder into it, and starts taking notes on its appearance.
    • He asks Shady where he gets his water, and Shady tells him it's from the spring nearby.
    • Burton tries to throw his weight around, but the guy won't have it. He tells him he's with the government, and that they've heard there's something special about the spring water here.
    • The stranger drinks the water, while Burton tries to convince him to tell him what he's doing.
    • He's sure it's a healing spring or something.
    • The guy won't tell him, but he winks at him and leaves. (What just happened here?)
    • At noon, the town gathers for the hearing about the Widow Cane's land.
    • Mrs. Larkin gets up, telling the Judge that Shady's been bootlegging. (Really? Even after ratting them out to Devlin, she's still kicking them while they're down?)
    • Judge Carlson tells her they have to settle the matter of the property first.
    • Shady asks for an extension to raise the rest of the money, but the judge can't grant it—the law is clear.
    • Burton stands up and asks if he can first bid on just one piece of the land. You guessed it: the part with the spring.
    • He's not bidding on behalf of the mine—it's for himself.
    • Jinx convinces Shady to bid against Burton for the spring, but Burton goes up to $741, and Shady can't match it.
    • Once Burton has officially won the bidding, Mrs. Larkin brings one of her late husband's county maps to the judge and tells him that since the widow's chunk of land is smaller now, it costs less.
    • And now Burton owes back taxes on the bit he bought.
    • And since there's a public resource on it—the spring—he has to pay those back taxes to the town of Manifest.
    • AND that gives the town enough money to buy the rest of the widow's land.
    • Devlin freaks out and tells the judge that he bids $5,000 on the land.
    • But Judge Carlson reminds him that the town has the first right to buy the land before it goes to auction.
    • Devlin fires Burton, but he doesn't care. He figures he'll be rich from the spring water.
    • Until the stranger presents the judge with his paperwork.
    • Which turns out to be recipes. For his aunt.
    • Who turns out to be Mrs. Larkin.
    • Everyone is shocked—except Jinx, of course.
    • He and Mrs. Larkin came up with the idea after Devlin insulted her husband. Ha.
    • Burton and Devlin leave the courtroom, furious, and the people of Manifest buy the property.

    HATTIE MAE NEWS AUXILIARY: October 2, 1918

    • Devlin has had to agree to new working conditions and better pay in exchange for the town letting him mine on their land.
    • There's also a fair in the works.
    • And, oh yeah, Burton sold his spring to the town.
  • Chapters 33-35

    Chapter 33

    The Jungle, August 11, 1936

    • Abilene is sitting in her bed, wondering about the last memento from the box: the key. Where does it fit in the story?
    • She hears harmonica music and goes outside to find Shady playing for some guys by the train tracks.
    • He was handing out coffee and helping them out as best he could.
    • Abilene realizes he hasn't been drinking all this time. Turns out he comes home all tired out and with bloodshot eyes out because he's helping these homeless dudes all night.
    • She thinks of her daddy and wonders if he's thinking of her.

    Chapter 34

    Remember When, August 12, 1936

    • Hattie Mae has gotten a ton of responses to her contest. Abilene, Lettie, and Ruthanne read through all the entries, and it helps Abilene fill in Miss Sadie's story with more details.
    • It's pretty funny stuff—you should totally check it out.
    • Finally, Lettie finds the one with handwriting matching their note. It was Mr. Underhill, the undertaker.
    • They assume he must be the Rattler. (Dun dun dun…)

    Chapter 35

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, August 23, 1936

    • Abilene runs all the way back to tell Shady, but he's not there, so she runs to Miss Sadie's instead. Track star.
    • She breaks the news, but Miss Sadie's too sick from her infected leg to react.
    • All she says it that it was all a myth—and then she launches into her story again.
  • Chapters 36-38

    Chapter 36

    Homecoming, October 27, 1918

    • Everyone is preparing for the town festival.
    • The sheriff is watching Jinx, and Shady decides to play a trick on him. He tells Jinx to meet him near the place they'd been selling the elixir.
    • Shady gets into the open grave they had dug for the dead pig and hands a couple of jugs up to Jinx.
    • But the sheriff catches them, and makes them give both to him. Aw, shucks.
    • After he leaves, Shady tells Jinx it was a tiny bit of whiskey—and a whole lot of prune juice. Nice on.
    • Suddenly, the sheriff's brother-in-law shows up. You know, the one looking for Jinx and Finn.
    • He says he's got to hang someone for the murder, and it might as well be Jinx.
    • Sheriff Dean doesn't want to give Jinx up at first, but his brother-in-law threatens him, so he shows him where Jinx is.
    • Jinx sees them coming and tries to run, but he bumps into Finn in the woods. Ugh.
    • Finn uses his old mean tricks on Jinx, trying to shame him into coming back to him, but Jinx refuses.
    • Then, out of the blue, Finn sticks a gun in Jinx's back, and tells him that Junior's death wasn't an accident: he killed him, and just blamed Jinx. (Well, duh—we already knew Jinx was the good guy.)
    • He's about to shoot Jinx, when they hear something rattling through the woods…
    • Finn lets him go, but the gun goes off, and Jinx blacks out.
    • The next day, the men of Manifest are lowering a casket into that open grave in the woods.

    Chapter 37

    Miss Sadie's Divining Parlor, August 23, 1936

    • Abilene's crying—she can't believe Jinx is dead.
    • She'd always hoped that Jinx was really her dad as a kid. But if he actually died, then it would be like losing him all over again. Poor kid.
    • Miss Sadie doesn't say anything until she can tell that Abilene is calm and determined to hear the story to the end.
    • Then she starts the story again…

    Chapter 38

    St. Dizier, October 27, 1918

    • The sheriff's brother-in-law notices that the gravestone doesn't say "Jinx."
    • Shady tells him that was just a nickname, but the sheriff insists on opening the coffin to make sure it's him.
    • Can't he just leave it be?
    • Sheriff Dean looks inside, and verifies that it's Jinx, so his brother-in-law leaves.
    • Once he's gone, the men stare at Sheriff Dean…
    • …who asks them where Jinx is.
    • He's okay. He was shot through the shoulder, but he lived.
    • Finn had fallen over into an animal trap, hit his head and died. He was the one in the coffin. And he was missing a foot.
    • The men don't understand why the Sheriff helped them, but he tells them it's because he didn't like his brother-in-law's cocky attitude.
    • Well, whatever—at least he helped out.
    • The town festival is huge success.
    • Everyone is friends now, and they're having an awesome time… until an army truck pulls up.


    • Ned Gillen has been killed in action.
    • Jinx is devastated.


    • Ned is thinking about home again and hoping for peace.
  • Chapter 39-41

    Chapter 39

    The Shadow of Death, August 23, 1936

    • Miss Sadie is finished with her story.
    • Abilene gets up, takes her compass, and leaves. She walks out to the lonely gravestone in the woods and looks at the name on it.
    • Gideon Tucker. Her father. Jinx was her father, after all.
    • She looks at the compass and realizes it's engraved with the date of Ned's death and the place of his burial.
    • She heads back home to Shady's place and asks him what happened after the telegram came.
    • He tells her Jinx left. And never came back. Then the flu hit the town for real. The elixir couldn't help, and dozens of people died.
    • Shady shows Abilene the tombstones, all with names she knows from the story. Even Mrs. Larkin.
    • Abilene asks for some coffee, so Shady takes her out to the train tracks where the homeless men are.
    • She realizes that her daddy thought her leg infection was his fault, just like he blamed himself for Ned's death.
    • And she realizes that he doesn't intend to come back for her. He thinks he's a real jinx.
    • Shady tells her as much, too, and lets her know that he and Hattie Mae thought it'd be best for her to learn about it all through Miss Sadie's story.

    Chapter 40

    The Shed, August 24, 1936

    • The next day, Abilene goes back Miss Sadie's.
    • This time, she has the key from the box, and she tries it in the door of the garden shed.
    • It opens, and she finds a bunch of old jugs and a box full of mementos of a boy named Ned.
    • Then she goes inside and gets what she needs to lance Miss Sadie's wound.
    • As she cleans it, they finish the story together…

    Chapter 41

    The Diviner

    • Miss Sadie wanted a better life for her son, so she immigrated to America.
    • But when she arrived, she has an eye infection, so she was sent back to Hungary, while her tiny son had to stay.
    • A friend offered to keep him until she came back.
    • Miss Sadie gave him a compass to wear around his neck, and said she had another one in her heart, so she'd be able to find him when she came back. (Sniff, sniff.)
    • When she finally earned enough money to come back, she found that her friend had died, and no one knew where her son, Benedek, was.
    • Until she found the orphanage that sent him west on an orphan train.
    • She continued her search, until she finally found her son; but, by then, he had been adopted by the Gillen family, and he was happy. He didn't seem to remember anything about his past.
    • She didn't want to have him discriminated against like she was there, so she just settled in Manifest to be near him.
    • She pretended to tell fortunes, but it turns out, she was really just a good observer.
    • Sister figured out that she's Ned's mother, so she would bring her his schoolwork and report cards.
    • But now Miss Sadie has to bear the pain of her son's death and the pain of remembering the story for the town.
  • Chapters 42-43

    Chapter 42

    Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, August 30, 1936

    • Over the next few days, Abilene tells the girls everything.
    • The town seems to have healed—all those memories in the paper have brought them back together.
    • The mailman has finally worked up the courage to ask Velma T. out—and she said yes. Aw.
    • The women in town are making another quilt—a friendship quilt—and they've asked Miss Sadie to make the center square. (Triple Yay.)
    • It turns out that when Jinx welded her gate, he had tried his best to spell out her last name—Redizon. But since he was a beginner, it came out looking like "Perdition." Oops.
    • The girls have an idea to get people to stop into town and shop: they put up a sign on the highway offering free ice water.
    • And they find out that Mr. Underhill wasn't the Rattler, after all. But he was the spy who told Devlin and Burton about the fake quarantine. Not Mrs. Larkin after all.
    • Abilene starts reading Moby Dick and discovers that her dad checked it out of the library, years ago. Yep, his name is written on the checkout card.
    • On August 30, Abilene stands at the train station, waiting as the train pulls up.
    • She's sent her dad a telegram, and she's hoping he'll be on this one. (Oh, please, oh, please.)
    • When he's not, she starts walking down the tracks.
    • And there he is, coming towards her.
    • He's beyond happy to see her again—they're both finally home.
    • And that telegram she sent him?


    • Abilene's dying… of lumbago… so her daddy better come quick before she passes. They'll try and keep her on ice till he comes.
    • Like father, like daughter.

    Chapter 43

    The Rattler, August 31, 1936

    • Abilene tells her daddy everything and gives him the map and letters and mementos.
    • And then he fills in the blanks, answering questions Abilene still didn't know the answers to.
    • But the biggest one—the identity of the Rattler—she figures out on her own.
    • Who else would be out late in the woods—maybe after having delivered a baby—in dark, ghostly-looking robes, with a rattling rosary at her side?
    • Sister Redempta.
    • And now Abilene knows what to write for her school assignment: "Manifest: A Town with a Past."


    • September 6, 1936: Hattie Mae is quitting her column, but she's passing it on to a young new writer in town: Abilene Tucker.