megs_bookrack's Reviews > The Last Year of the War

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arcs-read

**4.5-stars rounded up**

If you are looking to have your soul crushed anytime soon, pick this book up!



In 1943, when Elise Sontag is just 14-years old, her Father is arrested under suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer.

A neighborhood boy, in their small Iowa town, claimed that Mr. Sontag told him he was 'making a bomb'.



Sadly, that was all it took for the FBI to show up on the Sontag doorstep. The lives of the family would never be the same.

Ultimately, they, along with numerous other Japanese, German and Italian families were sent to an internment camp in rural-Texas, only taking with them what they could easily carry.

Their lives before nothing but a distant memory.



As a teen, Elise didn't fully understand what was happening to them. She tries to take it one day at a time and just make the best of it. That's a hard task for anyone, let alone a kid.

Early on, she meets a fellow internee, Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American girl from L.A., and the two become fast friends, bonding over their shared experience.

This story follows them through their time at the camp and beyond into adulthood. Told by an elderly Elise, I found this story heartbreaking.

Although this is purely a work of fiction, this situation did in fact happen to many, many families. That is a humbling thing to think about.



The strength of spirit it would take to overcome what the families in this story went through. I can't even imagine. I really enjoy when historical fiction is able to bring the past to life in such a palpable and touching way.

It was overwhelming for me at times. Particularly the moments told by present day Elise, as she struggles with her pending memory loss and slide into the grips of Alzheimer's.

That hit very close to home for me and was hard to read.



I thought, as always, Meissner tackled each of the topics explored in here with care and grace. She has a beautiful storytelling ability and I was definitely swept away in Elise's tale.

There were a few minor details that I wasn't crazy about, some descriptions that I thought were a little odd, but overall, this was a wonderful book and I know a lot of people will enjoy it!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I apologize for taking so long to get to it and am kicking myself for not picking it up earlier!
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Reading Progress

March 5, 2019 – Shelved
March 5, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 3, 2020 – Started Reading
January 4, 2020 –
9.0% "This is going to wreck me.
I already know."
January 5, 2020 –
17.0% "Only at 17% and already in tears.
Uh oh."
January 6, 2020 –
35.0% "Such a fluid story. I am really enjoying this!"
January 7, 2020 –
71.0%
January 8, 2020 –
81.0%
January 9, 2020 – Finished Reading
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: arcs-read

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)

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message 1: by Piepie (new) - added it

Piepie Exact same thing with me! I am ABSOLUTELY going to read this book this year ;)


megs_bookrack Piepie wrote: "Exact same thing with me! I am ABSOLUTELY going to read this book this year ;)" I am hoping to start it by Sunday! Just have to finish at least one more thing. I know it is going to be fantastic!!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Lol at your post. :)


megs_bookrack Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "Lol at your post. :)" Hahaha! I was just browsing through my kindle and was like, wait, where did this come from?! I can't believe I haven't read it yet. So embarrassing when you have so many books, you lose track! ;)


message 5: by Piepie (new) - added it

Piepie I'm planning on using this for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Pretty sure it "passes the Bechdel test".


megs_bookrack Piepie wrote: "I'm planning on using this for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Pretty sure it "passes the Bechdel test"." Yes, I think it will be the perfect selection for that! Good luck!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ I've got a few old books on my NetGalley account too. It's not that I've forgotten them - they give me pangs of guilt whenever I look over my NetGalley list - it's just that I'm unmotivated to read them now. :/


message 8: by Piepie (new) - added it

Piepie I have old arc's like that too. And yet Netgalley keeps approving me for others. What am I to do, haha


message 9: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Jan 03, 2020 12:30PM) (new)

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ I just make sure my overall reviews posted % stays above NetGalley's 80% mark. :)


megs_bookrack Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "I've got a few old books on my NetGalley account too. It's not that I've forgotten them - they give me pangs of guilt whenever I look over my NetGalley list - it's just that I'm unmotivated to read..."
I know that feeling! I am hoping to clear all that stuff up this year but with new amazing books being released every week, it is so hard!


megs_bookrack Piepie wrote: "I have old arc's like that too. And yet Netgalley keeps approving me for others. What am I to do, haha"Right!? hahahaha :)
Good luck! xo


megs_bookrack Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "I just make sure my overall reviews posted % stays above NetGalley's 80% mark. :)"
You're so good! I hover around 73% pretty consistently. I have had my eye on the 80% for a long time but never quite reached it...yet! This is my year! xo


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ I'm hanging onto about an 84% rate. I used to try to keep it above 90% but that got shot about a year ago.


megs_bookrack Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "I'm hanging onto about an 84% rate. I used to try to keep it above 90% but that got shot about a year ago."Wow, that's amazing and definitely inspires me to work at it more! Thanks, Tadiana! xo


message 15: by Erin (new)

Erin Clemence LOL don't worry, megs. We've all been there :) Happy reading.


megs_bookrack Erin wrote: "LOL don't worry, megs. We've all been there :) Happy reading."
Thank you, sweetheart! Officially starting it tomorrow! :) xo


message 17: by leslie hamod (new) - added it

leslie hamod Beautiful review dear Megs!💙


megs_bookrack leslie hamod wrote: "Beautiful review dear Megs!💙"Thank you, Leslie. It was a beautiful book ❤


message 19: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily Weddle Love Susan Meissner! I’ll have to pick this one up. As Bright As Heaven is one of my top 10 all time favorites.


megs_bookrack Emily wrote: "Love Susan Meissner! I’ll have to pick this one up. As Bright As Heaven is one of my top 10 all time favorites."I loved As Bright As Heaven as well. This one didn't quite reach that level for me but it is really, really good. You should definitely pick it up!


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