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Time and Again
Jack Finney
This is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death
Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, David Malki, Nathan Burgoine, Toby W. Rush, Rhiannon Kelly, Ryan Estrada, George Page III, Chandler Kaiden, Tom Francis, Grace Seybold, D.L.E. Roger, Daliso Chaponda, John Takis, Ada Hoffmann, Rebecca Black, Karen Stay Ahlstrom, Gord Sellar, M
Moon Over Manifest - Clare Vanderpool Moon Over Manifest is a story I think I would have enjoyed more as a child; I could feel my younger self identifying with the tomboyish protagonist, the people of the town as they're described in the story, and the history, as it related to what I was learning in Social Studies. As an adult, I can see some weaknesses in the story, which when combined make it feel a bit contrived, but yes: me as a kid would have read the heck out of this.

The book cleverly combines 1936 Depression-era Kansas with flashbacks to 1918, introducing World War I (a topic I never learned much about in Social Studies, which usually ended with the Civil War and then the entire 20th century crammed into a week or so), and the influenza pandemic during that time period (also barely touched on in class). While some characters cross over, others don't, which adds a layer of mystery to the other puzzles in the book and packs a bit of a hard punch when you find out what happened.

It ends with a nice little chapter with some background information on the location and other aspects of the story, which I liked a lot. I was often intrigued by offhand remarks in stories as a kid, but rarely did any further research.

A few things felt strange; the central spy mystery of the novel wasn't really well-done and actually ended up being a little confusing in parts, the 1918 "ending" is very pat, and the connections between 1918 Manifest and 1936 Manifest are sometimes pretty frail. The book is a little laggy in the middle, and the "storytelling" aspect is pretty much lost, because the voice the stories are told in doesn't really carry through.

However, overall, I enjoyed this. It's certainly better than a dry Social Studies textbook.