Elise Sontag's life changes drastically in 1943 is sent, together with her
family to an internment camp in Texas. Her father, who has been a legal
US citizen for almost twenty years, is accused of being a Nazi
sympathizer. Elise meets Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American girl at the
camp and they form a close bond, despite that not all people around
THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR is a
bittersweet story about two young girls' friendship. Elise Sontag is an
old woman, on her way to see Mariko Inoue for the first time in many
years. Once they were the best of friends and Elise tells us the story of
her youth through recollections. Her life before her father's arrest and
then as they were sent to the camp. And, how she formed a close
friendship with Mariko Inoue. Now Elise Sontag hopes to have one last
chance to see her old friend again.
Susan Meissner latest book is a strong book about how American
citizens with roots in foreign countries are sent to internment camps
during WWII. Paranoia is running rampant throughout the US and whole
families are sent away if the whiff of espionage is found. It's also a
story about two teenage girls who spent time in an internment camp
and their lives there. I found THE LAST
YEAR OF THE WAR to be engrossing and heartbreaking to read.
This book is especially strong thanks to it being told from a teenagers
perspective. Then, we have a parallel storyline with Elise as an old
woman looking forward to seeing her best friend again. That story is
just as good and I found myself taken with both storylines. A book a
From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed
Life and As Bright as Heaven comes 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.
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
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 weâ€™ve
always been is called into question.