The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine (Hardcover)
*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.
Praise for The Lost Year
*Longlisted for the 2023 National Book Award for Young People's Literature*
"Marsh’s novel, inspired by the struggles of her own Ukrainian grandmother’s family, is a haunting story of survival in which children’s anxieties — whether about famine or Covid — are masterfully wrapped in layered prose." — The New York Times Book Review
"The Lost Year is both timeless and timely, a tapestry woven of complex lives in a loving family over generations, as Mattie's lockdown catches fire when he unearths a guilty secret fearfully guarded for nearly ninety years by his Ukrainian great-grandmother. Katherine Marsh is a genius for creating people that feel real in a story that feels magical.” — Elizabeth Wein, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Code Name Verity
“Katherine Marsh tackles a heart wrenching slice of history — the mass starvation of millions of Ukrainians under Stalin — with an unwavering gaze and great empathy. Be forewarned: this book will change you.” — Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor-winning author of Hattie Big Sky
"The Lost Year brings this little-known slice of history to life with lively characters and a high-stakes plot that'll keep you turning pages." — Steve Sheinkin, Three-Time National Book Award Finalist
"Katherine Marsh has beautifully woven a gripping tale covering both the Stalin-orchestrated Ukraine famine in 1932 and the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Marsh shows us how deeply connected we are to our past and that in the middle of a societal crisis where disinformation is rampant, the ultimate truth can be found in the relationships we hold dear. It will break your heart and put it back together again. A must-read especially for these times." — Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Night Diary
★ "A natural selection for fans of Alan Gratz and a stepping stone to the work of Ruta Sepetys, this sobering and important story will be an excellent addition to classroom and library collections." - Booklist, starred review
"A moving presentation of a long-suppressed piece of history." - Kirkus Reviews
"Captivating first-person POV chapters 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." - Publishers Weekly
"Marsh has a clear knowledge of the Soviet world and the Holodomor, and she seamlessly interweaves historical events and figures." - The Bulletin