Book Review | The Last Year of the War #susanmeissner #netgalley #tallpoppyblogger

Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II

Published: March 19, 2019

Pages: 400


My Review:

My ratings are always based on how a book makes me feel. And this book gave me so many feels. Elise and Mariko’s story is a touching and emotional one. I cried several times for these two teenagers caught up in a war they wanted nothing to do with. They were normal teenagers with dreams about boys and movie stars.

The stories of the internment camps for German and Japanese Americans on American soil made me so angry and so sad. The part about the Santa Anita racetrack being used as a temporary housing was mind boggling since I’ve been there quite a few times as a child and had no idea. I was also unaware that these same people were “exchanged” or repatriated back to Germany or Japan if they volunteered.

I can’t even imagine the horrors that the Sontag family faced. From Iowa to Texas and then Germany, during the last year of the war “the worst year”. They all experienced so much loss and trauma and fear, it’s no wonder Elise made the choices she did in regards to Ralph.

Susan Meissner is a local author (San Diego) and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak. She is an impressive and articulate speaker and a very talented writer. Her characters are so vivid and real and the subjects she writes about are incredibly well researched.

About the Author:

Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses. Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight. She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with her family, music, reading great books, and traveling.

QOTD: Have you read other books that discuss the internment camps here in the USA?

Want more reviews? Click here!

Follow OrangeCountyReaders on Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Support Us on Ko-Fi and Amazon. And please, feel free to leave a comment!


  1. This is a great read! I’ve also read Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet which features Japanese internment camps on the west coast. 👍 Learning to See also has a few references to internment camps as Dorothea Lange documented the conditions as part of her photography portfolio.


  2. Wonderful review Jaymi. So many people do not realize that there were internment camps in both Canada and the US during WWII. This sounds like an amazing story.


Comments are closed.