The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
Published: March 19, 2019
Genres: historical fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Recommend to fans of: WWII, historical fiction, reading about history from an alternate person’s point of view
Foodie Vibes: a meager meal of stale bread, soup and coffee as food is scarce during the war
Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Berkley, and Susan Meissner for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.
- Alternates between present day and WWII featuring the same characters helps to enhance the story
- The shared friendship between Elise and Mariko – seamlessly ties the whole story together, even when they’re living on different continents
- The parents caring for their children during very difficult times
- The realism and beauty of the writing
- We get a more personal complete perspective of the war from the view of a teenager
- The main characters: Elise, her family, Mariko, and the Dove family
- Even though it’s fiction I learned more about WWII, especially the experiences of average citizens in the U.S. and Germany
- Completely transports me to a different time and place
- The sadness, violence and mistreatment of people, even though its realistic to the events in history
- The character of Max was mentioned more and also more likable
Overall, a wonderful historical fiction novel that tells the tale of two American teenagers who met due to fear an assumptions from the government and changed each others’ lives forever. Definitely, definitely recommend!
What’s your favorite time period/country to read about in historical fiction novels?
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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)