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In the rubble of a broken continent, a girl must solve a mystery whose answers could rebuild her family—or break her completely, in this New York Times bestselling, critically acclaimed tour de force historical novel from Monica Hesse, author of Girl in the Blue Coat.Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal, her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else—her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja—they went left. Zofia's last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.
But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing?
About the Author
Monica Hesse is the bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat, American Fire, and The War Outside, as well as a columnist at the Washington Post. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.
Praise for They Went Left: A New York Times and IndieBound bestseller A Sydney Taylor Honor Book Edgar Award Nominee, Best Young Adult Mystery An NPR Best Book of the Year A New York Times Best Book of the Year Booklist Editor’s Choice
"Hesse writes with tenderness and insight about the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive and the ways we cobble together family with whatever we have. When the plot twists come, they are gut punches--some devastating, others offering hope... Crucial."—New York Times Book Review
"beautifully tragic...an incredibly impressive novel about a timeframe and group of people that history often forgets. Their stories will stay with me forever."—--Hypable
* "A heartbreaking and heartwarming story of survival, loss, and renewal. Sure to please a variety of readers; those interested in historical fiction, romance, and mystery will not be able to put this book down."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Hesse again proves to be a master of verisimilitude, bringing the realities of existence in the immediate postwar period to visceral life through painstaking detail. Her beautifully realized, highly empathetic characters come to life, too, in the pages of this superbly crafted novel...like real life, there is heartbreaking sadness here but also hope that life, finally, will be whole and fine, A to Z."—Booklist, starred review
* "Hesse's meticulous research is evident on every page but never distracts from her propulsive plot. Combining history, romance and mystery, They Went Left is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story of what it takes to survive after trauma."—BookPage, starred review
* "Compelling."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Featuring factual locations and covering a period of time not often focused on, this is an excellent book to add to a Holocaust collection. ...This book would be valuable for all high schools and should be considered a must-purchase."
—School Library Connection, starred review
"A heartbreaking, gorgeously written story...The ending left me breathless and awed by its expression of enduring love."—Jewell Parker Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Boys
"Zofia's harrowing journey to find Abek and the fellow survivors she meets along the way will stay with the reader--particularly the echoes of the present evoked in a narrative of the past."—Refinery29
Select Praise for The War Outside:A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018A 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults PickA 2018 BCCB Bulletin Blue Ribbon TitleA 2019 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People "Once again, Monica Hesse delivers an incredibly compelling and beautifully researched novel. The War Outside vividly brings readers into an underrepresented and dark period of American history. A must-read for fans of historical fiction."—Ruta Sepetys, #1 New York Times bestselling author
* "Superb.... A satisfying and bittersweet novel, perfect for those who enjoyed Markus Zusak's The Book Thief."—SLJ, starred review
"Monica Hesse takes a setting we think we understand and shifts it in an important way...a tightly plotted exploration of the consequences of fear."—The New York Times Book Review
"Timely...[Hesse] again uses a well-researched historical backdrop to tell a powerful coming-of-age story."—Washington Post
Praise for Girl in the Blue Coat:The Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Mystery Novel 2017 A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens of 2016 An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016 A Booklist Best Young Adult Book of 2016 A Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Selection 2017 A 2017 Indies Choice Awards Finalist for Best Young Adult Book A YALSA 2017 Best Book for Young Adults A 2017 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year A 2017 Wyoming Soaring Eagle Book Award Nominee A 2017 Washington, D.C. Capitol Choices List recommended title A 2018 Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award Nominee 2018 All Iowa Young Adults Read
"A tapestry of guilt and acceptance, growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke's coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true."—Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Black Dove, White Raven; Rose Under Fire; and the Printz Honor-winning Code Name Verity
"Taut and intelligent.... the historical setting is rendered the way only an expert can do it."—Washington Post
* "Riveting.... A gripping historical mystery."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)