The Lost Year
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lost Year is historical fiction about tragic events in Ukraine in the early 1930s, narrated by three different tweens in two different eras. The real-life, massive, deliberate starvation of millions of people in Ukraine is the framework for the story, and there are a few harrowing but not gory descriptions of people who are starving and who die of starvation. Dumping bodies of loved ones in mass graves is mentioned, along with mentioning enslavement and execution by shooting for being accused as an enemy of the state. Important characters die. Separation from parents is a strong theme. The only violence directly narrated is a schoolyard fight that mentions punching, kicking, and a bloody nose. Sheltering in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic is also an important part of the story. An adult mentions that another is "a drunk," a child smells vodka and cigarettes on his breath, and he drinks from a flask.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
THE LOST YEAR tells the story of how 13-year-old Matthew, living in New Jersey in 2020, learns about his family history going back to the early 1930s. Matthew, his mom, and his great-grandma, whom he calls GG, are sheltering in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to keep Matthew from spending too much time on his gaming console, his mom makes him help GG sort through boxes of her belongings. But it's clear from the start that the boxes hold painful memories that GG doesn't want to revisit. Skipping back and forth between Matthew and his ancestors Helen and Mila, who were about Matthew's age in 1932, GG's incredible story of survival unfolds, and her most painful truth finally comes to light.
Is It Any Good?
This is an absorbing, haunting, and moving story about tragic events that many readers may not have known about. But The Lost Year handles the sadness, grief, and tragedy gracefully. Author Katherine Marsh doesn't shy away from the strong feelings, but she doesn't dwell on them for too long, either.
The three tween narrators and the large cast of characters, from 1930s Kyiv and Brooklyn to 2020s New Jersey, are all believable and easy to root for. It also provides a lot of food for thought, not just about the tragedy itself but about other important issues like journalism, family, stories, survival, and more.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the real-life tragedies in The Lost Year. Did you know anything about this historical events? How did it make you feel? What can you do to feel better?
What do Helen and Matthew learn about journalism? Why is it important? Why are reliable sources important?
Do you remember when we had to stay home all the time because of the Covid-19 pandemic? How did you cope? Do Matthew's feelings and the ways he handles them seem realistic to you?
- Author: Katherine Marsh
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion, Empathy, Perseverance
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publication date: January 17, 2023
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 1, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Riveting friendship tale set against terror, refugee crisis.
Girl finds her strengths in rich, poignant Depression tale.
Breaking Stalin's Nose
Newbery Honor-winning tale of growing up in Stalinist USSR.
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate