The Lost Year

(Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan, January 2023)

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 Covid 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, which the Soviet government covered up for decades.

Inspired by Marsh’s own family history, The Lost Year is an incredibly timely, page-turning story of family, survival, and sacrifice.

A Junior Library Guild selection.

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Praise

“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

“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

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

“Marsh’s intertwining narratives ground the story of the Holodomor—which affected her own family—within a historical framework while leading up to a completely believable and emotionally powerful conclusion. A strong subplot discusses journalistic integrity and how one powerful man managed to keep the truth of the Holodomor hidden for years. A moving presentation of a long-suppressed piece of history.” —Kirkus