Thursday, April 25, 2019

Julie's Review: The Last Year of the War

Author: Susan Meissner
Series: None
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 400
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A story of friendship that spans decades
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: 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. But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her. The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

Review: Elise Sontag led an idylic life in Davenport, Iowa with her mother, father and brother. As World War II heats up though things go terribly wrong. Her dad is a chemist at a company and being of German descent, he's arrested and sent away to an interment camp in North Dakota. Things quickly go south and Elise tries to keep her family together but it gets harder with each passing day. They soon get word that they will join their dad in Texas. 

As Elise starts to learn the ropes of the interment camp, she meets Markiko Inoue at school. They form a quick bond even though many people try to keep the German part of the camp separate from the Japanese part. They seem to understand each other and love spending time with each other. 

Elise and Mariko get split apart by Elise's family being sent back to Germany and Mariko's going back to Japan. Their lives go on and eventually they grow apart but their thoughts are always on each other. 

As the In the end this is a story about hope, Love, redemption and friendship. Mariko and Elise meet when they both part of an internment camp in Texas during WWII. They form a swift bond that can never really be broken through years and separation. 

As a part of our history that is not talked about I always find it interesting to learn something new.

Ms. Meissner always does her research and writes with a big heart as well.



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