The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner


Elise is an 80 year old woman who has Alzheimer’s. When she was 14 years old, living in Iowa, World War ll was in full swing. Her family was sent to an internment camp because her father, who was born in Germany, was feared to be a Nazi sympathizer. While there she became best friends with a Japanese American, Mariko. Their friendship helps Elise survive not only the internment camp but also the tragedies she experiences through the rest of the war and then as she tries to go on with the rest of her life. Now Elise wants to find this dear friend before the memories of her are gone. 


  • Alzheimer’s 
  • The things that happen to us lay the ground for the person we will be
  • World War ll
  • Heartbreaking
  • Internment camps during World War ll
  • Friendship 
  • Love
  • Self discovery



There were so many things I really loved about The Last Year of the War. I loved the idea of a woman with Alzheimer’s searching for her friend before she can no longer remember her. I loved how Elise named her Alzheimer’s and talked to her. I loved the story of her life in the internment camp and learning more about that time in our county’s history. I knew that Japanese Americans were kept in these camps but I did not know that German Americans also were. I also loved learning about what life was like in these camps. Elise and her family are sent to Germany during the last year of the war and I really liked reading the perspective of a family  living in Germany during the end of the war. I could easily picture what these different experiences were all like and how difficult it was for a young girl. I loved the characters during these times and felt drawn to them and felt their heartbreaks. 

The end of the book was not as good for me as the beginning. I wasn’t really sure about some of the decisions that Elise made and they seemed to come out of no where. The characters in the first part of the book seemed in depth and characters in the last part seemed rushed and I didn’t really feel like I knew them. The ending felt a bit rushed, which after all the details of the beginning was a disappointment. 

My copy of The Last Year of the War was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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