The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine

Finalist, National Book Awards 2023 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9781250313607
Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan Publishers
Author photo of Katherine Marsh. (Photo credit: Julian E. Barnes)
Katherine Marsh

Katherine Marsh is an award-winning author of novels for middle-grade readers including the forthcoming Medusa: The Myth of Monsters; The Lost Year, a Junior Library Guild Selection; Nowhere Boy, winner of the Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature; The Night Tourist, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery; Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, a New York Times Notable Book; and The Door By The Staircase. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Thirteen-year-old Matthew is miserable. His journalist dad is stuck overseas indefinitely, and his mom has moved in his 100-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, The Lost Year is inspired by Marsh’s own family history.

Judges Citation

In The Lost Year, Katherine Marsh deftly weaves together the stories of three Ukrainian children across oceans and generations. Their tales of love and loss, family and famine, and secrecy and survival reveal the devastating consequences of state propaganda and misinformation. With writing that is mostly somber, sometimes humorous, and always honest, Marsh demonstrates the resourcefulness and resilience of young people—and asks what it means to survive.


Katherine Marsh at the 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading