The Last Year of 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.
 
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.


My Review

I have seen this author's name and books surface the internet but I had yet to actually pick up a book. So, when I got the chance to read this book; I jumped at the chance. It storyline is right up my alley.

While, I did enjoy this book, not as much as I wanted to "love" it. This is because for me, I found myself suffering from the strong emotional human connection towards Elise and Mariko. While both women had good stories to share about their lives; there was a bit of a barrier that kept me from fully embracing them. Due to this factor, my excitement level was brought down some pegs.

My reading pacing for this book was on the slow side. However, this still was a good read in my book. There were some good things about this book that I did like. The time period and storyline. I would try reading another book by this author.

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