But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her—or help her rebuild her world.
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.
FROM NOVL NATION
“Hesse is nothing short of masterful when it comes to writing gripping, heart breaking, raw, powerful, and soul shattering historical fiction novels. This book did all of that and so much more.”
– Sara, @agingerlyreview
“I was sucked in from page one and unable to put it down. This was one of the most well-written stories I’ve ever read… It resonated with me in a way no other story has and, dare I say, ever will.”
“This book was truly incredible. The mystery of finding Zofia’s brother and the dash of romance running through the story kept me engaged and speeding through the pages.”
“This book was just so well done, Hesse’s writing style is beautiful.”
– Macy, @afictionreality
“They Went Left is a heartbreaking and heartwrenching read that pulls you in from the beginning. A story that is full of drama, hope, and determination.”
– Patti, @lovelyloveday
Book Club Guide
on the blog
Monica Hesse on the LB School Podcast
Monica Hesse on Writing Historical Fiction for Young Readers
If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of the past two months daydreaming of “After.” After covid-19, after quarantine, after stay-at-home orders, after exhausted-looking nurses begging for more personal protective equipment on CNN.
After, I’d like to go to a crowded movie theater and order buttered popcorn. I’d like to hug my best friend; she’s pregnant and she informs me over the phone that she’s increased in size from Pluto to Jupiter. I have a long wish list, but sometimes its hard to imagine the world ever going fully back to normal. Some things are just too wounded. Recovery will be its own journey in ways big and small; it’s going to be a long time until I don’t marvel at a fully-stocked toilet paper aisle.
My latest novel, They Went Left, is set in Poland and Germany in the months immediately following World War II. It’s about the concept of “After,” when that concept turns out to be so more complicated than anyone expected. “What did they mean, it was over?” my main character, 18-year-old Zofia Lederman thinks to herself as her liberators celebrate V-Day. “I was miles from home and I didn’t own so much as my shoes. How was any of this over?” Most of Zofia’s family was killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and now she must set off on a quest to find her only living relative, her younger brother, Abek.