*A National Book Award Longlist selection*
From the author of Nowhere Boy - called “a resistance novel for our times” by The New York Times - comes a brilliant middle-grade survival story that traces a harrowing family secret back to the Holodomor, a terrible famine that devastated Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.
Thirteen-year-old Matthew is miserable. His journalist dad is stuck overseas indefinitely, and his mom has moved in his one-hundred-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.
An incredibly timely, page-turning story of family, survival, and sacrifice, inspired by Marsh’s own family history, The Lost Year is perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray and Alan Gratz's Refugee.
A 13-year-old boy discovers a dark family secret in this stirring volume by Marsh (Nowhere Boy). As the Covid-19 lockdown begins, Matthew is stuck in his Leonia, N.J., home with his divorced magazine editor mother and his 100-year-old Ukrainian-born great-grandmother Nadiya, called GG. Struggling to adjust to the new reality, Matthew finds comfort in playing video games, until his mother takes away his gaming console and orders him to help GG organize her personal belongings. When he finds a photo of two girls, labeled "Nadiya and Helen," GG reluctantly divulges that she and her cousin Helen had once been a trio, and that what happened to the third cousin, Mila, is a "terrible secret," spurring Matthew to learn more about GG's past. Captivating first-person POV chapters—which alternate between Matthew in 2020 N.J. and Helen, Nadiya, and Mila in 1930s Brooklyn and Kyiv—vividly render the suffering caused by Stalin's imposed famine, Holodomor; the event's perception around the world; and the aftereffects that ripple into Matthew's present. Helen and Matthew's growing understanding of the tenets of responsible journalism link their stories as each seeks to uncover the truth and report on their discoveries. An author's note concludes. Ages 10–14.