• The Last Year of the War

  • By: Susan Meissner
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 16 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (959 ratings)

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The Last Year of the War  By  cover art

The Last Year of the War

By: Susan Meissner
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
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Publisher's summary

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.

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 US 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 reclaim 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.

©2019 Susan Meissner (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“Meissner has created a quietly devastating story that shows how fear and hatred during World War II changed (and even ended) the lives of many innocent Americans.”Kirkus Reviews

“Vivid historical detail and elegant prose bolster this rewarding story of profound friendship, family, fear, and the pain that arose for American-born children of immigrant parents.”Publishers Weekly

“There's no shortage of books about World War II and internment camps coming out right now, given events in the news over the last year. Meissner's latest novel presents a more interesting, untold account than others.”Real Simple