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The Last Year of the War
The Last Year of the War
Author: Susan Meissner
A novel about a German American teenager whose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during World War II. — In 1943, Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa -- aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is sudd...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780451492159
ISBN-10: 0451492153
Publication Date: 3/19/2019
Pages: 400
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 18 ratings
Publisher: Berkley
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Members Wishing: 72
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Last Year of the War on + 1514 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The Last Year of the War has an interesting premise about families interned in a camp during World War II. I like that we get to experience it from a young girl's perspective. Elise and Mariko were both born in the United States. They enjoy the latest music, going to the movies, chatting with their girlfriends and eating Twinkies. Suddenly, their lives are forever changed. They are taken away from their homes, their friends and extended family and thrust into a new world. They live in small apartments without showering facilities, but there are shops, vegetable gardens, different types of schools, a pool and other amenities. They have everything they need except the freedom to leave. I found it intriguing to learn the details of internment camps (information not included in history class). We get to see how people's lives changed overnight and how they had no control over their future. I found The Last Year of the War to be well-written with developed characters. I did find the pace to be on the slow side. The story alternates between 2010 and the past. Just when you get involved in the past, we jump back to the present (and vice versa). It was a little disconcerting. I would then have to remember where we left off in the past and what had happened. When I finished the story, though, I could see why the author laid it out in this manner. The author captured the time period especially with her descriptions of the devastation in Germany. I can tell that she did her research for this novel (very evident). I especially appreciated the information she included at the end of the book (author's note). I wish there had been more emotion in the story. That is the one thing it lacked. The Last Year of the War is a good book, but it is not my favorite by this author (Lady in Waiting and The Shape of Mercy are two of my favorites). I am giving The Last Year of the War 4 out of 5 stars. Those readers who love historical fiction will find The Last Year of the War to be a compelling novel. The Last Year of the War is a story of hope, friendship, promises and staying true to ourselves.
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bygones68 avatar reviewed The Last Year of the War on + 61 more book reviews
The chaos and heartbreak of World War II are the driving forces of this story about Elise and Mariko. They are American born children of parents that immigrated many years ago from Germany and Japan. The two meet and form a friendship during the time their families are sent to an internment camp in Texas. As the state of affairs for the US changes and shifts between Germany and Japan, both families are caught up in duty, alliance and life changing circumstances.

Leaving the country with only a suitcase of clothes, passports, birth certificates and family photos, Elise is torn away from her best friend and hopes they can keep in touch and reunite in New York when they are both 18.

A lifetime later, Elise diagnosed with Dementia, is determined to find her long lost friend, Marika, once again.


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