THE LOST YEAR: A SURVIVAL STORY OF THE UKRAINIAN FAMINE, by Katherine Marsh, Roaring Brook Press, Jan. 17, 2023, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 10-14)
A 13-year-old boy discovers his grandmother’s painful past in Katherine Marsh’s The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine.
Thirteen-year-old Matthew is miserable. His journalist dad is stuck overseas indefinitely, and his mom has moved in his 100-year-old great-grandmother to ride out the pandemic, adding to his stress and isolation.
But when Matthew finds a tattered black-and-white photo in his great-grandmother’s belongings, he discovers a clue to a hidden chapter of her past, one that will lead to a life-shattering family secret. Set in alternating timelines that connect the present-day to the 1930s and the US to the USSR, Katherine Marsh’s latest novel sheds fresh light on the Holodomor – the horrific famine that killed millions of Ukrainians, and which the Soviet government covered up for decades. —Synopsis provided by Roaring Brook Press
Told through dual timelines, The Lost Year explores the Holodomor — a man-made famine that killed millions. In it, Author Katherine Marsh expertly explores both a historical event and the people who lived through it. And by setting one of the timelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marsh gives readers a relatable place to start from.
The Lost Year unfolds from the alternating points of view of Matthew and cousins Helen and Mila. The three stories perfectly interweave to keep readers interested and the book moving forward. Marsh pulls from her family’s own past, adding authenticity throughout.
Everything about The Lost Year is impeccable. From Marsh’s inviting prose and compelling characters to accessible history and gripping storyline, readers won’t want to put it down. It should especially appeal to fans of Alan Gratz (Refugee, Ground Zero) and those who enjoy contemporary and historical fiction.
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