The War that Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1)
An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.   Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.   So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?   This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.

The War that Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1) Details

TitleThe War that Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 8th, 2015
PublisherDial Books
ISBN-139780803740815
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Childrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Young Adult, War, World War II, Audiobook, Juvenile

The War that Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1) Review

  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    As a child I was what one might call a selective reader. Selective in that I studiously avoided any and all works of fiction that might conceivably be considered “depressing”. Bridge to Terabithia? I’ll have none please. Island of the Blue Dolphins? Pass. Jacob Have I Loved? Not in this lifetime. Lord only knows what caused a book to be labeled “depressing” in my eyes before I’d even read it. I think I went by covers alone. Books picturing kids staring out into the vast nothingness of the univer As a child I was what one might call a selective reader. Selective in that I studiously avoided any and all works of fiction that might conceivably be considered “depressing”. Bridge to Terabithia? I’ll have none please. Island of the Blue Dolphins? Pass. Jacob Have I Loved? Not in this lifetime. Lord only knows what caused a book to be labeled “depressing” in my eyes before I’d even read it. I think I went by covers alone. Books picturing kids staring out into the vast nothingness of the universe were of little use to me. Happily I got over this phase and eventually was able to go back to those books I had avoided to better see what I had missed. Still, that 10-year-old self is always with me and I confer with her when I’m reading new releases. So when I read The War That Saved My Life I had to explain to her, at length, that in spite of the premise, cover (again with the kids staring out into nothingness), and time period this isn’t the bleak stretch of depressingness it might appear to be. Enormously satisfying and fun to read, Bradley takes a work of historical fiction and gives the whole premise of WWII evacuees a kick in the pants. Ada is ten and as far as she can tell she’s never been outdoors. Never felt the sun on her face. Never seen grass. Born with a twisted foot her mother considers her an abomination and her own personal shame. So when the chance comes for Ada to join her fellow child evacuees, including her little brother Jamie, out of the city during WWII she leaps at the chance. Escaping to the English countryside, the two are foisted upon a woman named Susan who declares herself to be “not nice” from the start. Under her care the siblings grow and change. Ada discovers Susan’s pony and is determined from the get-go to ride it. And as the war progresses and things grow dire, she finds that the most dangerous thing isn’t the bombs or the war itself. It’s hope. And it’s got her number.I may have mentioned it before, but the word that kept coming to mind as I read this book was “satisfying”. There’s something enormously rewarding about this title. I think a lot of the credit rests on the very premise. When a deserving kid receives deserving gifts, it releases all kinds of pleasant endorphins in the brain of he reader. It feels like justice, multiple times over. We’re sympathetic to Ava from the start, but I don’t know that I started to really like her until she had to grapple with the enormity of Susan’s sharp-edged kindness. As an author, Bradley has the unenviable job of making a character like Ada realistic, suffering real post-traumatic stress in the midst of a war, and then in time realistically stronger. This isn’t merely a story where the main character has to learn and grow and change. She has this enormous task of making Ava strong in every possible way after a lifetime of systematic, often horrific, abuse. And she has to do so realistically. No deus ex machina. No sudden conversion out of the blue. That she pulls it off is astounding. Honestly it made me want to reread the book several times over, if only to figure out how she managed to display Ada’s anger and shock in the face of kindness with such aplomb. For me, it was the little lines that conveyed it best. Sentences like the one Ada says after the first birthday she has ever celebrated: “I had so much. I felt so sad.” It’s not a flashy thing to say. Just true.You can see the appeal of writing characters like Ada and Jamie. Kids who have so little experience with the wider world that they don’t know a church from a bank or vice versa. The danger with having a character ignorant in this way is that they’ll only serve to annoy the reader. Or, perhaps worse, their inability to comprehend simple everyday objects and ideas will strike readers as funny or something to be mocked. Here, Bradley has some advantages over other books that might utilize this technique. For one thing, by placing this book in the past Ada is able to explain to child readers historical facts without stating facts that would be obvious to her or resorting to long bouts of exposition. By the same token, child readers can also pity Ada for not understanding stuff that they already do (banks, church, etc.). Ms. Bradley has written on her blog that, “I don't write in dialect, for several reasons, but I try to write dialogue in a way that suggests dialect.” American born (Indiana, to be specific) she has set her novel in historical England (Kent) where any number of accents might be on display. She could have peppered the book with words that tried to replicate the sounds of Ada’s London accent or Susan’s Oxford educated one. Instead, Ms. Bradley is cleverer than that. As she says, she merely suggests dialect. One of the characters, a Mr. Grimes, says things like “Aye” and ends his sentences with words like “like”. But it doesn’t feel forced or fake. Just mere hints of an accent that would allow a reader to pick it up or ignore it, however they preferred. Basically what we have here is Anne of Green Gables without quite so much whimsy. And in spite of the presence of a pony, this is not a cutesy pie book. Instead, it’s a story about a girl who fights like a demon against hope. She fights it with tooth and claw and nail and just about any weapon she can find. If her life has taught her anything it’s that hope can destroy you faster than abuse. In this light Susan’s kindness is a danger unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. Ms. Bradley does a stellar job of bringing to life this struggle in Ada and in inflaming a similar struggle in the hearts of her young readers. You root for Ada. You want her to be happy. Yet, at the same time, you don’t want your heart to be broken any more than Ada does. Do you hope for her future then? You do. Because this is a children’s book and hope, in whatever form it ultimately takes, is the name of the game. Ms. Bradley understands that and in The War That Saved My Life she manages to concoct a real delight out of a story that in less capable hands would have been a painful read. This book I would hand to my depression-averse younger self. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s one-of-a-kind. For ages 9-12
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  • Natalie Claire
    January 1, 1970
    I am a 10 year old girl and I read this for school. I loved it so much and I hope there is a sequel. If there is another book I will definitely read it and I would recommend this book to everyone that likes books about not giving up!!! Happy reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rating: one million stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I am a 10 year old girl and I read this for school. I loved it so much and I hope there is a sequel. If there is another book I will definitely read it and I would recommend this book to everyone that likes books about not giving up!!! Happy reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rating: one million stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    I know it seems like I’ve been tremendously lucky lately, what with all the four-star-ratings I’ve been giving, but it’s only because—and I’ve done this for the whole month of March—anytime a book bores me, I put it aside and never get back to it. Good, bad? Remains to be seen. That being said, THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE was extraordinary and didn’t bore me one bit. No wonder it won so many awards. It’s a refreshing middle grade historical fiction book that deserves to be read by adults as well. I know it seems like I’ve been tremendously lucky lately, what with all the four-star-ratings I’ve been giving, but it’s only because—and I’ve done this for the whole month of March—anytime a book bores me, I put it aside and never get back to it. Good, bad? Remains to be seen. That being said, THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE was extraordinary and didn’t bore me one bit. No wonder it won so many awards. It’s a refreshing middle grade historical fiction book that deserves to be read by adults as well. It’s such a wonderful book that calls to your emotional side. I used the word ‘‘refreshing’’ to describe it above because, although many historical books describe the events of World War II, not many look at children evacuees. Indeed, Ada and Jamie flee from London to escape from the predicted German attacks. They have to leave their abusive mother to do so, but for Ada that isn’t going to be an action she will ever regret. The woman who welcomes them—quite begrudgingly—into their house will make them understand what being cared for truly means. Although the backdrop is a terrified England, the war is never the main point of the story, even if the title says otherwise. It’s true that the war saves Ada’s life, in a way, but the main focus of this story is the interactions between Ada, Jamie and their new guardian as well as Ada’s confidence and freedom growth. Once afraid of her monstrous mother, Ada will learn to calm the fear that has grown inside her for so many years. UNFORGETTABLE. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    Awww, this is such a cute heartwarming WWII story! My cold dead heart warmed like a whole 3 degrees and that is amazing. I loved the visual writing and the copious amounts of scones (!!!) and the adorable protagonist, Ada. British books though. Omg. They are nice. My only slightly sad face goes to the fact that it was really very slow. Would 9-year-old-me have liked this??? Eh. I honestly think I would've been bored. BUT LET'S HAVE A LIKES VS DISLIKES LIST SHALL WE????(Yes, we shall.)L I K E S:• Awww, this is such a cute heartwarming WWII story! My cold dead heart warmed like a whole 3 degrees and that is amazing. I loved the visual writing and the copious amounts of scones (!!!) and the adorable protagonist, Ada. British books though. Omg. They are nice. My only slightly sad face goes to the fact that it was really very slow. Would 9-year-old-me have liked this??? Eh. I honestly think I would've been bored. BUT LET'S HAVE A LIKES VS DISLIKES LIST SHALL WE????(Yes, we shall.)L I K E S:• Ada and her little brother Jamie have been horribly abused by their mother...and I think the representation of PTSD from that was spot on. The repercussions of being unwanted your whole life? The flinching away? The meltdowns? MY HEART BROKE LIKE 9 TIMES. It was well represented.• Ada also has a clubbed foot...and I've never read that before! She spent the first 9 years of her life crawling in the dirt because her mother was disgusted and wouldn't help her. SHE WAS SO BRAVE AND STRONG. Also kind of bitter and angry. This could've turned her into an unlikeable character? BUT IT DID NOT. I 100% loved and rooted for Ada.• And of course I loved Miss Susan Smith. (Despite actually knowing someone who's name is Susan Smith so...that was weird. 0_0) She was really snappy and crotchity but A BIG SOFT PIECE OF PUDDING ON THE INSIDE.• There were so many heartwarming moments. I got all squishy when Ada started to learn to love.• TEA & SCONES, LUV. Not even ashamed. I love books with food.D I S L I K E S:• It wasn't particularly original. I read a ton of WWII books in my Youthful Days (like, um, 10 years ago but whatever) and this honestly just followed the same formulas. (Ex: Goodnight Mister Tom Fireweed The Railway Children, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and Vinnie's War.)• And it was definitely slow paced. The middle bordered on boring, honestly, and while I liked the aesthetics of the country lifestyle and the kids learning to be loved and all the horses and scones...not much actually happened apart from that??? I know it's not meant to be an "action story" but it didn't have very much plot.• The ending also felt very rushed. Which made the pacing feel off, because the middle took forever and then when actual exciting things happened at the end (bombs! spies!) it just sped through them? #NotHappySusan...All in all: it was a delightful WWII story with a totally winning protagonist, but it's not going to stick with me for long. If you haven't read much WWII stories, then this is a good one to try! But if you've swallowed a mountain of them, you'll probably find yourself nodding off in the middle. It's middle-grade, too, so definitely for ages 9+ I'd imagine. There is parental abuse at the beginning, but it's not graphic, and there's death at the end -- BUT HELLO THIS IS HISTORY. (And that's also not graphic.) So there we go. I'm off to crave tea and scones. Thanks for warming my old soul, little book.
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  • Barb Middleton
    January 1, 1970
    Call me dumpling, if this isn't a Newbery contender for 2016. The historical details, character development, tight plot, and rich layered themes make this firecracker sizzle. Ten-year-old Ada has a clubfoot and is kept locked in her family's one bedroom apartment while her six-year-old brother, Jaimie, roams free in London, England. Mam hits her two children and punishes Ada by locking her in the cabinet under the sink. World War II is about to happen, and parents are sending children to the cou Call me dumpling, if this isn't a Newbery contender for 2016. The historical details, character development, tight plot, and rich layered themes make this firecracker sizzle. Ten-year-old Ada has a clubfoot and is kept locked in her family's one bedroom apartment while her six-year-old brother, Jaimie, roams free in London, England. Mam hits her two children and punishes Ada by locking her in the cabinet under the sink. World War II is about to happen, and parents are sending children to the countryside for safety.Mam plans to send Jaimie, but not Ada, "Nice people don't want to look at that foot." Ada sneaks off with Jaimie to join other evacuees on a train to Kent. Expecting 70 children but receiving 200, the children line up in a building near the station and are chosen by families, but no one picks Ada and Jaimie. The "iron-faced" woman organizing the placement takes the two to a house where the owner, Susan Smith, says she doesn't want any children to care for. The reason for Susan's reluctance is slowly revealed and though she claims she is not nice, her actions show the opposite. She suffers with bouts of depression and the three form a family bond that helps them all move forward in life and deal with suffering.The ironic title of this book refers not only to the physical war, but the internal and daily battles faced by the characters. War is about death and destruction, not saving; however, there are times when "some things are worth fighting for." WWII meant fighting against loss of freedoms, lands, and extreme prejudices. Most people didn't want to go to war and avoided it until it became necessary. For Ada, "There are all kinds of wars." She talks about her war with Jaimie whom she has raised instead of their negligent mother. She talks about her war with her mother who hits her in order to shame and control her. She sees Susan war with people who act prejudiced toward her disability. She sees Jamie war with his fears. She sees Susan war with her grief. The war theme builds like a wet snowball rolling down a snowy hill getting bigger and bigger until it rests at the bottom doubled in size. The author keeps building on various themes and advances the plot pointing to those themes. This is just one element in Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's impressive writing that makes this book unforgettable.*spoiler* I want to use this book for book club next fall so the following is more detailed than usual so I'll remember my first impressions.Daily life is filled with peace and joy and battles and wars. Ada's life is no different except her conditions are more extreme. She battles the prejudice of her mother and others over her clubfoot. She battles hunger on a daily basis. She battles her feelings. She battles being touched by another human. She battles looking forward to the future with hope. She battles being illiterate. Ada is tired of being ignorant of the world and the words in it. She's been locked up in a room and never let outside. On the train, she asks Jaimie what the green stuff is out the window. Even the word, "grass," is not in her vocabulary. Like someone trying to learn a foreign language, words exhaust her and it is no surprise that she resists Susan's efforts to educate her. It is not until she makes friends with Maggie that she is motivated to read and write.Ada is a survivor, courageous, and persistent. Horses respond to her and when she decides to make her pony jump a wall, she just about kills herself in the effort. She battles back no matter how many times life throws her off a horse. Her physical hunger is nothing compared to her emotional hunger for love, hope, and freedom. When she finds it with Susan, it scares her to heck because she knows their set-up is temporary until the war is over. Ada shuts Susan out to protect herself, but Susan is just as strong-willed as her and she jumps her walls. Jaimie is left-handed and being abused by the teacher. Susan figures it out and rescues him showing she is willing to fight for the two children. The relationship changes from caring to loving - the three are evolving into a family with all its ups and downs. At the end, when Susan doesn't battle for them, it is no surprise that she changes her mind and tracks down Mam and the kids. At the end when Susan tells Ada and Jaimie that they saved her life, the story has come full circle.Both children have fears. Jaimie has tantrums and wets the bed while Susan is afraid of being hit and sent away. When Jaimie finds a mean cat that is full of fleas and matted hair, he names it Bovril after a nasty drink that Susan makes the children take each night for their health. The cat, Bovril, is loved and cared for by Jaimie. He stops wetting the bed as soon as they keep the cat and after he washes the mangy creature he brings it down wrapped in Susan's "best towel." The parallel with the children is striking for Susan took in two bedraggled children that no one else wanted and gave them the best of herself and home. When Jaimie tells Susan that "nice people" hate Ada's clubfoot, she says they are in luck because she is not a nice person. Ada tries to convince herself of this, but knows it isn't true. "She was not a nice person, but she cleaned up the floor. She was not a nice person, but she bandaged my foot in a white piece of cloth, and gave us two of her own clean shirts to wear." Ada reminds herself all the time that Susan is not a nice person so that she won't become attached to her. She knows that the situation is temporary and she copes by detaching herself.Another overarching theme besides battles and wars, is the difference between lying and liars. Susan distinguishes "lying" as a way of self-preservation or protecting oneself while "liars" do it to make themselves important. Ada lies about her last name when she meets Susan. Later, when Ada tells the truth, it is easy to see why Susan doesn't believe her about riding Maggie's horse. The two learn to be honest and trust each other as they learn to understand each other. The author shows but does not tell these differences and much of it must be inferred by the reader. As the story progresses, Ada chooses to not lie about the spy, nor does she lie with her mother. She slowly turns from lies to the truth and it allows her to move forward emotionally and become a stronger person. Mam is a liar that bullies Ada to make herself feel important. Mam says that fixing Ada's foot is a lie, even though Ada knows it is possible. By not fixing Ada's foot, Mam feels superior. Susan lies about Divinity school to attack the school teacher's prejudice and abuse of Jaimie. Her lie was protective. Stephen lies to the Colonel because he knows that the Colonel needs full-time care. His lie was to help the Colonel not feel useless in the war. Lies are a big part of the author's character development and Ada learns through lies how she can change her life into one of truth and hope for a better life. Ada breaks Susan's sewing machine and is terrified she'll be sent back to London. Ada's terror is not normal and shows how traumatized she has been by her mother's abuse. She also pushes aside her emotions and doesn't address them. She calls it going inside her head. Her psychological and physical abuse make her difficult to handle and Susan doesn't always get it right. Both Ada and Susan are persistent, strong-willed, and stubborn. Susan can't tell Ada to read and write but tricks her into it. Later when Ada realizes that Maggie was mad at her for not writing, she is motivated to learn. Susan tricks Ada into doing other things she refuses to do making for some funny moments. Susan's dry humor helps balance the characters heavy issues. The two females learn from each other. When Ada decides to make a present in her room, Susan says she has to spend equal the time with her that she spends alone. She's grown to like her company and Ada unknowingly is helping Susan deal with her grief. Ada goads Susan into volunteering for the war. Susan tries to get Ada to accept herself and not be ashamed of her foot, "your foot's a long way from your brain." When Ada later uses it against the prejudiced officer, Susan's influence is apparent as Ada finds the courage to stand-up for herself and see her self-worth.Susan's read alouds show how the kids are relating the characters in the stories to their lives. Ada feels that she is like "Alice in Wonderland" who has fallen down the rabbit hole into a strange new world. Jaimie feels like he is on an adventure like the "Swiss Family Robinson." Literature engages and empowers young readers into understanding themselves and the world around them. Ada is learning empathy and through narrative fiction she can get inside a fictional character's mind to understand his or her feelings, motivations, and emotions. This safe place in the fictional world lets her take risks and learn through characters triumphs and mistakes, then relate it to herself with empathy, and not have any real-world consequences. This is the power of reading.I do so like books that answer questions right away and then take it one step further in an unexpected way. Brandon Sanderson does this and so does Bradley. For instance, when Ada keeps refusing to go to tea with the Colonel, I thought she was embarrassed by her clubfoot and I know that she feels awkward socially. Later she confesses to Stephen that she is afraid of not doing the right thing. Perhaps a better example is when Susan debates the teacher on her superstition of left-handedness. It could have been left with just the dialogue, but she explains the root of the superstition in the Bible. The author digs deeper into the psyche of characters bringing out their complexities that engages me more as a reader.Bradley has already established herself as an author that pays attention to historical details. Read "Jefferson's Sons" and you will see what I mean. Here, she goes into details regarding the war and maintaining stables and horses. The women sewing blackout curtains and building a rickety, smelly bomb shelter are just two of many examples. Others include the newsreels, that disseminated information to the public before the movies, to the propaganda posters littering the city. The Germans circled the island and sunk ships trying to import or export goods laying siege to England and affecting the food supply. Another fact that parents evacuated their children from London and then took them back endangering their lives when the London Blitz occurred was one I didn't know about. The historical details oftentimes tie in with larger themes, especially the posters such as "Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might." Not only is England's freedom in peril, but Ada and Jaimie's freedom living with Susan is in peril when their Mam takes them back.The psychological progression of Ada wanting Susan to not give her things shows Ada clinging to the emotional detachment as a coping mechanism from being abused. Ada rejects Susan's help over and over. Later while reading "Swiss Family Robinson" she thinks "I was tired of those idiots living on an island with everything they wanted." She doesn't want to be given things. Again, her attitude is about self-preservation. Ada has a meltdown when Susan makes her a velvet dress and calls her beautiful. She reveals "It was too much, all this emotion."She can't see herself as anything but ugly. She doesn't want to love Susan and hope for a better life. Worse, she doesn't want to love herself.When the war comes to their town and Susan and Ada help the Dunkirk soldiers, Ada learns that she is useful. She also recognizes that she is winning battles against her fears and becoming stronger. "There was a Before Dunkirk version of me and an After Dunkirk version. The After Dunkirk version was stronger, less afraid." Later, when she sees a spy and reports it, she is strong enough to overcome the prejudiced officer that tries to dismiss her. When she stands up to her mother and admits the horrible truth about how she does not care about her or Jaimie, she shows her self-acceptance not only of herself but her mother. When she is lauded a hero for capturing a spy, she sees herself, "As if I'd been born with two strong feet." This is a long way from the ashamed girl that first showed up on Susan's doorstep.Susan's depression comes from the death of her partner, Becky. The family has disowned Susan, especially her clergyman father, and no one talks about it. Historically, it would have not been discussed openly and if the author had made it a subplot it would have put the book in the young adult section. Children's interest in sexuality begins more in middle school than elementary and had the author emphasized it, the novel would have missed its audience. As is, some readers will miss the implied relationship, while others will notice it hovering in the background and affecting Susan. This choice by the author lets the focus remain on the characters, and it would have detracted from the main themes. Decide for yourself. You really don't want to miss this one.
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    Not bad for a middle grade novel. Not bad at all. A beautiful and heartwarming story about overcoming emotional and physical abuse, and learning to accept unconditional love from yourself and from others. Takes place during World War II in London. This novel doesn't pull punches or try to sugar coat the harshness of life. "The War That Saved My Life" will tug at your heartstrings, and reaffirm your faith in the kindness of strangers. Enjoy!
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  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! “I don't know what to say," she said, after a pause. "I don't want to tell you a lie, and I don't know the truth."It was maybe the most honest thing anyone had ever said to me. Man this book really packed in the feels! There were moments where I felt like I had been punched with emotion!The War That Saved My Life is about Ada, a young girl with a deformed foot whose mother kept her inside all her life. When London fears Hitler will start bombing it, all the children are sent to th 4.5 stars! “I don't know what to say," she said, after a pause. "I don't want to tell you a lie, and I don't know the truth."It was maybe the most honest thing anyone had ever said to me. Man this book really packed in the feels! There were moments where I felt like I had been punched with emotion!The War That Saved My Life is about Ada, a young girl with a deformed foot whose mother kept her inside all her life. When London fears Hitler will start bombing it, all the children are sent to the countryside and Ada sees the outside world for the first time. “I wanted to say a lot of things, but, as usual, I didn't have the words for the thoughts inside my head.” Loved this story, so so much! Ada is such an amazing heroine with so much perseverance even when life literally kept her down. The author really did well on the historical aspects and the writing in this book flowed. I think this is a story everyone needs to read, not just children. “It had been awful, but I hadn't quit. I had persisted. In battle I had won.” Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Every one of my friends who has just come out of the woodwork to say how much they love this book is DEAD TO ME.Why?Because I literally do not remember one of them telling me that I MUST READ THIS IMMEDIATELY, and they should have. I remember a bit of buzz around it as Newbery season rolled around. I remember there being "no surprise" when it was named as an honor book. So I dutifully bought it, read the first page, thought, UGH, HOW HORRIBLE! and put it aside. The sequel just came out and every Every one of my friends who has just come out of the woodwork to say how much they love this book is DEAD TO ME.Why?Because I literally do not remember one of them telling me that I MUST READ THIS IMMEDIATELY, and they should have. I remember a bit of buzz around it as Newbery season rolled around. I remember there being "no surprise" when it was named as an honor book. So I dutifully bought it, read the first page, thought, UGH, HOW HORRIBLE! and put it aside. The sequel just came out and everyone I know is suddenly saying, I need to get it! I'm so excited! And I thought, UGH. I will TRY the first one. Holy #$%^, y'all. This book was amazing! The story of the evacuees in England has long fascinated me. And I love horses as well. So there's two things in its favor right off. But also, ALSO, this book is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius in its portrayal of grief, depression, abuse, and healing. Ada, the main character who has literally never known happiness, never been loved, does not instantly warm to their new hostess. She struggles. She is crippled not just by a club foot but by years of abuse and self-loathing. She has panic attacks. She is angry and doesn't know why or how to deal with it. It's a nuanced and honest look at what a child raised in such circumstances might actually be like. Susan, who was cast out by her father for living with another woman (this is subtle and their relationship is not labeled as such), who is gossiped about by the town (but not as much as she thinks) is struggling just to exist after the death of her partner Becky. These are damaged people, and they don't do and say the right thing because they don't know the right things to do and say. It's raw and real, as is the depiction of how England begins to change with the coming of war. I shan't go on because, well, you need to read it for yourself (if you haven't already).This, my friends, is a beautiful book.
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  • Eve
    January 1, 1970
    “'You did a good job taking care of Jamie,' Susan said. 'But it was a big job, and you shouldn’t have had to do it. So now you can relax. I can take care of you. You don’t have to fight so hard.'”Argh! I think I'm crying. Yup. What a wonderful, emotional, thought-provoking book, and written for middle schoolers! Lately I've realized that what I appreciate most in a book is when the author gives the reader some credit, and doesn't dump emotions all over the page or over explain writing technique “'You did a good job taking care of Jamie,' Susan said. 'But it was a big job, and you shouldn’t have had to do it. So now you can relax. I can take care of you. You don’t have to fight so hard.'”Argh! I think I'm crying. Yup. What a wonderful, emotional, thought-provoking book, and written for middle schoolers! Lately I've realized that what I appreciate most in a book is when the author gives the reader some credit, and doesn't dump emotions all over the page or over explain writing techniques. Especially with books written for a younger audience, does the author have to take care to strike the perfect balance of trust and respect. Which is why this book was perfect in every respect. Bradley had such a wonderful way of introducing us to her main characters without divulging everything. She let me make my own deductions about Ada, Jaime, Susan, and even the hateful "Mam." There was some content that was hard to read about, like physical and emotional child abuse, WWII in England and its effect on the population, and overall the internal struggles that Ada had to get through as a result of her abusive background. But the overall message really touched my heart. We can't choose our family, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a family of our own making. I can't wait to jump into the sequel. "A strange and unfamiliar feeling ran through me. It felt like the ocean, like sunlight, like horses. Like love. I searched my mind and found the name for it. Joy."Earlier in the year I read a book (The Mare) with similar ingredients: a rehabilitative horse, an abusive single parent, a brother and sister with a strong bond, and an evacuation of sorts. I hated it, though. And it was mostly because I didn't feel like the characters rang true. So I was apprehensive about diving into another "horse" book, but so glad I did. I really do like "horse" books!
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  • Paulo Ratz
    January 1, 1970
    Nossa........Nem sei por onde começar! Pelo menos eu já fiz um vídeo grandinho sobre esse livro onde eu consegui dizer muita coisa do que eu senti fazendo essa suficiente. Eu confesso pra vocês, sendo 100% sincero, mesmo tendo trabalho junto da Darkside para a divulgação desse livro, que eu terminei a leitura orfão. Eu queria que esse livro fosse maior! Eu conseguia enxergar esses personagens, a casa da Susan, os animais que ela descreve... eu conseguia entender as reações de todo mundo, e isso Nossa........Nem sei por onde começar! Pelo menos eu já fiz um vídeo grandinho sobre esse livro onde eu consegui dizer muita coisa do que eu senti fazendo essa suficiente. Eu confesso pra vocês, sendo 100% sincero, mesmo tendo trabalho junto da Darkside para a divulgação desse livro, que eu terminei a leitura orfão. Eu queria que esse livro fosse maior! Eu conseguia enxergar esses personagens, a casa da Susan, os animais que ela descreve... eu conseguia entender as reações de todo mundo, e isso me deixou tão dentro que eu não conseguia parar de ler. Inclusive, que leitura gostosa e rápida!A Ada, personagem principal do livro, é uma menina de 10 anos que sofreu quase tudo que uma criança poderia sofrer. Ela se torna uma demôniazinha orgulhosa, mas é tão natural. Fazer essa leitura pelo ponto de vista dela foi tão realista que nem sei.... eu só queria abraçar e brigar com ela o tempo todo! Eu recomendo fortemente esse livro, gente. Não to forçando a barra não. É muito fofo e triste ao mesmo tempo. Acho que você sai uma pessoa mais grata pelo que você já teve na vida.
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  • The Library Lady
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, this has been done before and has lots of stock characters--the disabled/abused child who gets away from a bad situation and blossoms, the adorable younger sibling who needs to be protected, the unlikely guardian who doesn't want them, but learns to love them.Yet it's fresh and new and I stayed up till well past my bedtime reading it, and I DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE OVER. In other words, it's really, really good and I thank Edelweiss for my digital ARC.
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  • Kavya_E1
    January 1, 1970
    Ada discovers there are worse things than bombs after she escapes her Mam’s cruelty during a children’s evacuation of World War II London.Crippled by an untreated clubfoot and imprisoned at home by Mam, Ada has survived, but she hasn’t thrived. Only caring for her brother, Jamie, has made life tolerable. As he grows, goes out and tells Ada about the world, her determination to enter it surges. She secretly begins learning to walk and joins Jamie when Mam sends him to the country. Ada narrates, r Ada discovers there are worse things than bombs after she escapes her Mam’s cruelty during a children’s evacuation of World War II London.Crippled by an untreated clubfoot and imprisoned at home by Mam, Ada has survived, but she hasn’t thrived. Only caring for her brother, Jamie, has made life tolerable. As he grows, goes out and tells Ada about the world, her determination to enter it surges. She secretly begins learning to walk and joins Jamie when Mam sends him to the country. Ada narrates, recalling events and dialogue in vivid detail. The siblings are housed with Susan, a reluctant guardian grieving the death of her friend Becky. Yet Susan’s care is life-changing. Ada’s voice is brisk and honest; her dawning realizations are made all the more poignant for their simplicity. With Susan’s help and the therapeutic freedom she feels on horseback, Ada begins to work through a minefield of memories but still harbors hope that Mam will accept her. In an interesting counterpoint, Susan also knows what it is like to be rejected by her parents. With the reappearance of Mam, things come to an explosive head, metaphorically and literally. Ignorance and abuse are brought to light, as are the healing powers of care, respect, and love.Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada’s personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration.
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  • Barbara A.
    January 1, 1970
    One of the finest middle school novels I've read in quite a while. We are treated to an intense and involving reading experience guided by a strong narrator/heroine in the person of evacuee Ada Smith. Bradley does a particularly wonderful job of integrating vivid historic detail and emotionally believable situations. The characterizations (Jamie, Susan, Margaret, Mr Grimes, Mam, etc.) are complex and well drawn. So much so that I began to long for a second novel about these people and their live One of the finest middle school novels I've read in quite a while. We are treated to an intense and involving reading experience guided by a strong narrator/heroine in the person of evacuee Ada Smith. Bradley does a particularly wonderful job of integrating vivid historic detail and emotionally believable situations. The characterizations (Jamie, Susan, Margaret, Mr Grimes, Mam, etc.) are complex and well drawn. So much so that I began to long for a second novel about these people and their lives as it became clear that this novel was drawing to an immensely satisfying close. This is a fine novel and reminiscent of another emotionally wrenching tale of another WWII evacuee--Goodnight Mister Tom. It has the bittersweet, British homefront intensity of Mrs. Miniver and some of the drama of Foyle's War. Put this #1 on your 2015 list of must reads.
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  • Abby Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I can't get over how much I loved the characters in this WWII English home front story. It was fascinating to me to read a book about one sibling being horribly abused by her mother while her younger sibling was treated fairly regularly. Ada seemed really realistic to me, brimming with emotions and occasionally volatile. Susan, their steadfast caretaker, was complicated, too, still mourning the loss of her "good friend", a woman named Becky whom she lived with. Ms. Baker shows how these characte I can't get over how much I loved the characters in this WWII English home front story. It was fascinating to me to read a book about one sibling being horribly abused by her mother while her younger sibling was treated fairly regularly. Ada seemed really realistic to me, brimming with emotions and occasionally volatile. Susan, their steadfast caretaker, was complicated, too, still mourning the loss of her "good friend", a woman named Becky whom she lived with. Ms. Baker shows how these characters grow and change during the time they're together, developing a relationship that turns out to be a lifesaver, despite it happening in the middle of a war. Highly recommended for readers who love characters they can root for or readers looking for solid historical fiction, particularly World War II stories.
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  • JonathanT
    January 1, 1970
    OKAY SO THIS WAS GOOD. I just think it wasn't really for me? I did REALLYYY enjoy it, and I'll probably read the second book, because this was well-written, and it had a fantastic cast of characters, and it was sincere and honest (even though it was secular and I didn't agree with ALL of it), and I REALLY SHOULD HAVE ENJOYED IT MORE. But... the plot. In my opinion, the plot sagged a little. There wasn't a whole lot going on in here. The book was slooow-moooviiing and I found it super easy to put OKAY SO THIS WAS GOOD. I just think it wasn't really for me? I did REALLYYY enjoy it, and I'll probably read the second book, because this was well-written, and it had a fantastic cast of characters, and it was sincere and honest (even though it was secular and I didn't agree with ALL of it), and I REALLY SHOULD HAVE ENJOYED IT MORE. But... the plot. In my opinion, the plot sagged a little. There wasn't a whole lot going on in here. The book was slooow-moooviiing and I found it super easy to put down. I did like how the author wrote a book set in WW2 era, but the storyline didn't focus on the war. That being said, this was undeniably well-written and almost completely clean. (a few instances of minor swearing, most of which is Ada's Mom saying 'ell, and it took me a minute to even figure out what that was. xP) So I'd probably recommend this to ages 12-13+. :D
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  • Raquel Moritz
    January 1, 1970
    É uma história linda, triste, cheia de inocência, descobertas e superações. Situada na Segunda Guerra Mundial, o livro é narrado pela Ada, uma garota que, aos dez anos, nunca tinha saído de casa porque a mãe a proibia. Com a chegada da Guerra, ela vê a oportunidade de fugir com o irmão e se livrar dos maus tratos. Um mundo completamente novo se abre pra ela, que agora precisa usar toda a força e a determinação pra conseguir se manter viva. Mais um da série "livros que deixam seu coração quentinh É uma história linda, triste, cheia de inocência, descobertas e superações. Situada na Segunda Guerra Mundial, o livro é narrado pela Ada, uma garota que, aos dez anos, nunca tinha saído de casa porque a mãe a proibia. Com a chegada da Guerra, ela vê a oportunidade de fugir com o irmão e se livrar dos maus tratos. Um mundo completamente novo se abre pra ela, que agora precisa usar toda a força e a determinação pra conseguir se manter viva. Mais um da série "livros que deixam seu coração quentinho". <3
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  • Melina Souza
    January 1, 1970
    Esse livro é daqueles que aperta o nosso coração, mas que mesmo assim não conseguimos parar de ler, sabe?Gravei um vídeo sobre ele: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KveYf...E fiz um post no blog: http://melinasouza.com/2017/03/22/a-g...A edição brasileira está maravilhosa *-*
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  • Amanda Snow
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best historical fiction books for this age range I've ever read (listened to). Narrator was fantastic, characters were perfectly done, and the pacing was on point. An incredible story of a brother and sister during WWII. Will make my Best Books of 2015 list for sure.
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  • Melora
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like I really must be missing something with this one. Newbery Honor, great reviews, but to me it just felt like a story that's been done to death, with nothing really fresh. Neglected London child evacuated for safety to the country, placed with grouchy hermit, blooms and brings new joy and community integration to grouchy hermit. Good Night, Mr. Tom all over again. Only not nearly as well done. Our protagonist here, Ada, is not just horribly abused, but also crippled due to her mother's I feel like I really must be missing something with this one. Newbery Honor, great reviews, but to me it just felt like a story that's been done to death, with nothing really fresh. Neglected London child evacuated for safety to the country, placed with grouchy hermit, blooms and brings new joy and community integration to grouchy hermit. Good Night, Mr. Tom all over again. Only not nearly as well done. Our protagonist here, Ada, is not just horribly abused, but also crippled due to her mother's neglect, and she has a brother. The author's main emphasis is on how emotionally as well as physically damaged Ada is, and how difficult it is for her to trust in the kindness of her hostess (who, of course, is suffering from her own childhood traumas). It read like a textbook for aspiring social workers, focusing on the need for endless patience and kindness when dealing with abused children. Like I was back in the classes my husband and I had to take to be licensed as foster care parents. The children's behavioral issues were presented with painful accuracy – she nailed that part with frightening vividness – but a rundown on the challenges of caring for neglected children doesn't make for much of a story. The “magic” thing in this story that touches Ada and allows her to break free of her self-constructed prison is her love of horses. This could have worked, but her transformation from crippled child crawling across the floor to skilled horsewoman is practically instantaneous and utterly unconvincing. She goes from sitting on a pony who ambles slowly around his pasture to easily mounting a full size hunter and effortlessly putting him over a wall in a single scene. Actually, she learns to read and write with similar skill, once she sets her mind to it, but for some reason it was the instant riding and barn skills that struck me as most improbable. The author integrates details of life in England during WWII in a way that feels a bit as though she's working through a checklist – rationing, plane-spotting, Dunkirk evacuation – but this aspect wasn't badly done. The story picked up a little steam in the last fifty pages, with more action and the requisite heart-touching happy ending, but it still felt, to me, too much focused on “this is how a damaged child responds to things.” I'm giving this three stars, not because I “like” it, but because it is an adequate historical fiction story for the intended age group. But just adequate.
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  • Ivonne Rovira
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes a book proves so breathtakingly beautiful and poignant that words fail; that would be The War That Saved My Life. Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has crafted an unforgettable coming-of-age novel that launches at the cusp of the beginning of the Second World War. Ada Smith — so neglected that she doesn’t really know her age nor her birthday — has been kept in a one-room flat over a pub her entire life. Her abusive mother has never sent her to school, ashamed of Ada’s club foot; she’s h Sometimes a book proves so breathtakingly beautiful and poignant that words fail; that would be The War That Saved My Life. Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has crafted an unforgettable coming-of-age novel that launches at the cusp of the beginning of the Second World War. Ada Smith — so neglected that she doesn’t really know her age nor her birthday — has been kept in a one-room flat over a pub her entire life. Her abusive mother has never sent her to school, ashamed of Ada’s club foot; she’s hardly more motherly to her 6-year-old son, Jamie. Ada doesn’t know anything about their father other than some misty memories. All that is about to change when East End children are dispatched to Kent to avoid the bombing of the blitz. To tell any more would be to ruin this very moving book, one equally enjoyable for its middle-grade target audience and their parents and grandparents. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.
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  • Lydia Dyslin
    January 1, 1970
    The War that Saved My Life is by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I was incredibly excited to read there is a sequel coming in October!! This book was so touching. It really moved me. It made me appreciate my loving mother and father in a way I need to do more often. The first part of the book starts off on a bit of a depressing note. But then, when Ada escapes with Jamie, it gets a little bit happier. The siblings are in a nice home with a nice lady, and Ada has a pony to ride. But both siblings defi The War that Saved My Life is by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I was incredibly excited to read there is a sequel coming in October!! This book was so touching. It really moved me. It made me appreciate my loving mother and father in a way I need to do more often. The first part of the book starts off on a bit of a depressing note. But then, when Ada escapes with Jamie, it gets a little bit happier. The siblings are in a nice home with a nice lady, and Ada has a pony to ride. But both siblings definitely have trials to overcome - especially Ada. Oh my goodness. I just loved the characters!I hated Ada and Jamie's Mam. I LOVED Susan. It was hard to believe she had never had kids before, though. I didn't like Jamie very much. I'm not sure why, he just wasn't the most likeable character. I understand he was only 7 and went through some dramatic experiences and I'm supposed to sympathize with him, but I just didn't grow fond of him. Ada. Now, Ada I liked fine. I could understand what she was going through and why she acted the way she did. I liked reading about all the secondary characters - Fred, Maggie, Maggie's mother, etc. I especially liked Fred, though. ;) And the ending. THAT ENDING. I almost started crying at that final confrontation between Ada and her Mam. It was awful how Ada kept thinking and thinking throughout the book, "Maybe she'll love me now." The fact that Ada so desperately wanted her mother's love, and didn't hate her mother with a burning passion - just wanted her to change - really highlighted it. :(The book ended happily, although I won't spoil it. :) I loved this book. It's a story of love and healing. I would happily recommend this to anyone 10+. 5 stars out of 5!
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  • Tukunjil Nayeera
    January 1, 1970
    It was my first read of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and she won my heart! The War that saved my life was absolutely breathtaking and one of the best book I've ever read!While reading this book, I felt so submerged into all characters that it was hard to remember I was not Ada or Susan. Sometimes I was Susan, who was a melancholic soul and didn't want anyone in her life, for she was completely absorbed by sorrow of her loss and sometimes I was Ada, a ten years old little girl, who was fighting he It was my first read of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and she won my heart! The War that saved my life was absolutely breathtaking and one of the best book I've ever read!While reading this book, I felt so submerged into all characters that it was hard to remember I was not Ada or Susan. Sometimes I was Susan, who was a melancholic soul and didn't want anyone in her life, for she was completely absorbed by sorrow of her loss and sometimes I was Ada, a ten years old little girl, who was fighting her own battle against all odd, personal insecurities and abominations of her mom. Well, Kimberley certainly did a brilliant job developing characters and she perfectly understood the psychology of a little girl who had always been treated horribly by her birth mom! I wonder how a mom could be so hateful!And I must say, I love stories where girls save themselves. In this book, Ada didn't just save herself but also took great care of her brother, Jamie. Her love for Jamie overwhelmed me. The way she fought back against her disability and her eagerness to learn new things make her the most bravest and courageous girl one ever could be. I could almost felt her anger which she experienced when she don't know something. And finally when Ada won her battle my heart leaped with tremendous joy!Highly recommended!!
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  • Text Publishing
    January 1, 1970
    The Wall Street Journal, New York Public Library and Publishers Weekly have all featured The War That Saved My Life on ‘best of’ lists and it’s not hard to see why.Heart-warming and disarming, The War That Saved My Life, is a must read. Nine-year-old Ada escapes from the suffocating control of her mother, and embarks on an exciting yet dangerous journey set against the background of the World War II. This charming book was number one on the New York Times bestseller’s list for middle grade child The Wall Street Journal, New York Public Library and Publishers Weekly have all featured The War That Saved My Life on ‘best of’ lists and it’s not hard to see why.Heart-warming and disarming, The War That Saved My Life, is a must read. Nine-year-old Ada escapes from the suffocating control of her mother, and embarks on an exciting yet dangerous journey set against the background of the World War II. This charming book was number one on the New York Times bestseller’s list for middle grade children and has received international rave reviews.‘A touching story that can be read by all ages, The War that Saved My Life is deserving of the awards it has won and been nominated for. It is a book that shows a different side to the war, and will hopefully become a much-loved classic in years to come.’Book MuseThere is much to like here—Ada’s engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive.School Library Journal A beautifully written and very moving book, bound to be an instant classic …A beautiful story of hope and family.BooktopiaAbsolutely breathtaking…An incredibly emotional and poignant read…[It] will stay with you long after the final page is turned. This book is truly remarkable.Diva Booknerd‘An inimitable, robust, yet lyrically written bildungsroman. Its gentle humour is poignant and heartwarming.’Australian‘Achingly lovely…Nuanced and emotionally acute, this vivid tale from the wartime home front will have readers ages 10-14 wincing at Ada’s stumbles and rejoicing to the point of tears in her victories.’Wall Street Journal‘Ada’s voice is brisk and honest; her dawning realizations are made all the more poignant for their simplicity… Things come to an explosive head, metaphorically and literally. Ignorance and abuse are brought to light, as are the healing powers of care, respect and love. Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada’s personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration.’STARRED Review, Kirkus‘Proving that her courage and compassion carry far more power than her disability, Ada earns self-respect, emerges a hero, and learns the meaning of home.’STARRED Review, Publishers Weekly‘Absolutely breathtaking…An incredibly emotional and poignant read…[It] will stay with you long after the final page is turned. This book is truly remarkable.’iva Booknerd‘Very powerful…A wonderful and well written story of the internal and external struggles that we can all face.’Lamont Books‘Bradley presents this episode in Britain’s history in a form that young readers will appreciate, learn from and enjoy: a moral tale wrapped up in an adventure story…A moving and uplifting read.’BookMooch‘Worthy of all the awards it has won, this book is an uplifting read of one girl overcoming incredible odds. The reader is carried along by the story of Ada’s trials and triumphs…Beautifully written.’ReadPlus‘Bradley unfolds Ada’s world, so truncated and tortured, with deft skill…A compelling read.’Historical Novel Society‘Absolutely absorbing…A sad yet heart-warming story that will have children and adults captivated from the very beginning.’Bookish Manicurist‘Heartwarming…A delightful WWII story with a totally winning protagonist.’Paper Fury‘Comforting in its familiarity…Ada’s voice is honest and authentic and true…It’s a lovely little novel to curl up with on a rainy day, that took me back to the novels I read and loved as a child.’Steph Bowe‘Thrilling and lovely, heart-wrenching and funny, charming and readable and truly a book that you won’t want to put down! 5 stars.’Bookbag‘As sweet as treacle…Ada’s transformation from an angry young woman into a confident lady is imaginatively drawn.’Australian Women’s Weekly‘A story of courage and hope. Watching Ada’s transformation and seeing her relationship with Susan grow is a lovely journey.’Otago Daily Times‘A moving and sensitively written book which will give readers a new and enlightening perspective on the war and its effects on people.’Parents in Touch‘Heartwarming, realistic and ultimately moving…A brilliant read from start to finish, The War that Saved My Life explores themes of love, loss and hope and shows that sometimes the hardest battles are the ones fought within ourselves.’Gobblefunked‘A moving and captivating story’Readings, Best Middle Fiction Books of 2016Wall Street Journal, Best Children’s Books of 2015Publishers Weekly, Best Books of the YearAmazon, Best Books of the YearKirkus Reviews, Best Middle Grade Books of 2015The New York Public Library, 100 Books For Reading & Sharing Watch Kimberly Brubaker Bradley discuss the book here. 
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  • Shannon Brown
    January 1, 1970
    This was just such an astonishingly clear-eyed and empathetic book about abuse and trauma and survival that I had to check that it really is for middle-grade readers. There are things I wish had had more detail or nuance, such as the class issues or what Ada's friend Stephen's very different experience meant to him, but those are tiny nits among a sea of praise.I loved the way the author showed the different ways the trauma of their life in London affected both Ada and her brother Jamie, and I l This was just such an astonishingly clear-eyed and empathetic book about abuse and trauma and survival that I had to check that it really is for middle-grade readers. There are things I wish had had more detail or nuance, such as the class issues or what Ada's friend Stephen's very different experience meant to him, but those are tiny nits among a sea of praise.I loved the way the author showed the different ways the trauma of their life in London affected both Ada and her brother Jamie, and I loved the way she set up this idyllic country life and then slowly dismantled it with the increasingly present war. I was impressed with ways in which she was able to show the astonishing bounds of both the children's neglect and their ignorance without ever being gratuitous or dwelling on the horrorsBut most of all I loved the relationships that blossomed between Susan and Ada and Susan and Jamie and Ada and the world. And I liked that she just left many things about Susan and her clearly lesbian relationship and what she thought her relationship with the village was just sort of be a bit of background detail. It seemed realistic that a ten-year-old traumatized girl would have those details sail over her head, but would still understand Susan's otherness. Also, bless a book aimed at preteens that doesn't sugarcoat the cruelty that can be part of a birth family, and doesn't suggest all relationships - blood or not - can or should be saved. I was so happy that it celebrated families of choice, even if it did end super abruptly.
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  • ||Swaroop||
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful, heartfelt and engaging read! A very well-written book on human emotions and history.Kimberly Brubaker Bradley`s The War that Saved My Life is the story of nine-year-old Ada and her young brother Jamie, set during the times of World War II. I felt few glimpses of Roald Dahl`s Matilda, but on the whole this is a unique and nicely written book. As the blurb says, this is indeed an exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds! A must-read. A delightful, heartfelt and engaging read! A very well-written book on human emotions and history.Kimberly Brubaker Bradley`s The War that Saved My Life is the story of nine-year-old Ada and her young brother Jamie, set during the times of World War II. I felt few glimpses of Roald Dahl`s Matilda, but on the whole this is a unique and nicely written book. As the blurb says, this is indeed an exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds! A must-read.
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  • Julie Carpenter
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up at the library several weeks back, mainly for one of my older children but also because I've seen many good reviews about it. As I worked my way through my (very large) stack of books this was the final one. I kept waiting to see if anyone in my house would pick it up but they all had several other books in their hands so I was glad because it is due and I really wanted to read it before I have to return it.I have always had this strange fascination/obsession with anything World I picked this up at the library several weeks back, mainly for one of my older children but also because I've seen many good reviews about it. As I worked my way through my (very large) stack of books this was the final one. I kept waiting to see if anyone in my house would pick it up but they all had several other books in their hands so I was glad because it is due and I really wanted to read it before I have to return it.I have always had this strange fascination/obsession with anything World War II related. I think the main reason is because my grandfather and many of my great uncles all served in the war. My grandfather passed away about 10 years before I was born so I never knew him personally but I knew him through the stories my mom and her family shared about him. My favorite picture of him was the one my grandma had in her room of him in his uniform. I think the desire I had to learn and study all I could about WWII was due to the wish that I had of wanting to know him and thinking if I could study and learn about this big horrific event that he sacrificed so much for then I would be able to draw closer to him. This last summer I was able to read through his unit's log for where they were from day one of landing in Europe to the end of the war. Granted it was more about tactics and locations, there ended up being several little tidbits about the battles they were involved in or even just moments when they were hiding from the "jerries fire". It was very eye opening to what he endured. Needless to say this book was another WWII novel, although children's fiction, that stood out to me and was begging for me to read it and I did and am so glad.The War that Saved My Life was very well deserving of being a Newberry Honor Book. The characters were amazing. The descriptive writing pulled me in from the very beginning. Ada is a young girl who was born with a clubfoot and spends her life in a small apartment only allowed to sit by the window to look out on life, never to participate. The opening lines of the book brought several waves of emotion. As Ada described her foot and the pain from it I was feeling that pain due to the writing of those emotions. Mam's (Ada's mom) strikes felt all too real every time she raised her hand, and her words cut deep every time she screamed and yelled. I couldn't help but cheer for Ada as she taught herself secretly to walk. The story starts right before the British declare war against Germany and Ada is about 11 years old. You learn that she crawls everywhere she goes, she's not allowed outside, she must care for her brother and if she even thinks about showing any resistance towards her mother, any questioning, she is shut away in the cupboard under the sink.Ada has a younger brother Jamie who is around 6 years old. Jamie is allowed every freedom possible; school, running, staying outside all hours of the day, all of Ada's share of food, friends, life. When the children in London are evacuated Jamie is on the list but Mam refuses to allow Ada to join him. Ada feels stifled and left behind knowing Jamie is enjoying life and she is stuck with no understanding of life or what is outside of her apartment, and literally stuck in a small room all day and night. Ada and Jamie come up with a plan that Ada will join Jamie in leaving London and escaping to the country away from her mother's reach. I kept thinking the whole time her mom would show up and catch her before they got away. I cheered inwardly when they reached the country, and I hurt for them when no one wanted these two filthy broken children.The emotions behind Ada's character are heartbreaking. You watch (read) her journey as she goes from being a child who was told for 11 years that she is ugly, worthless, stupid, a waste, garbage, etc. to a young lady trying to decipher if she is being told lies when she is told she is beautiful and smart and can do anything she desires. There are very emotionally touching scenes in the book that you want to comfort her and hold her. Ada and Jamie do find someone to care for them. One of the least likely people you would imagine. A single lady who is struggling with her own heartache and sorrow. But the pairing of the three together was so sweet and touching to watch. I loved the trust and love that slowly grew between them. There was so many damaging emotional and mental scars that Ada and Jamie carried from their Mam that they didn't know who to believe and even after feeling love and peace and security they still desired their abusive, uncaring mother.There are so many great secondary characters that just sort of slip in and out of the storyline but who are so influential in helping Ada to learn and grow. I loved this novel. I think there are some very real and challenging issues that Mrs. Bradley writes about in here that may be too emotional for the age group it is geared towards but at the same time shows them many sides of life in a very well done manner. The ending was such a sweet wrap up of everything and all the characters. I loved the (spoiler) happy ending that Ada and Jamie and Susan(their caregiver) all were able to find.I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Children's literature. It's great for the older than YA generations as well.Happy Reading!!!
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  • Rosangela
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't want this one to end!As you may have noticed... It took me forever to finish reading it. But in the good way, I enjoyed it very much .And I cried a lot too.Magnificent work. Loved the book. I really loved the whole thing.Heartwarming story. It was the right book for the right mood; right at this specific moment of my life.I don't even usually like to read WWII books in general, but I highly recommend this one.
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  • Chessa
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying! OMG you guys. This book is so freaking good. Ada is a tween girl born with a club foot living in a flat in London with her (horrible!!!) mother and little brother Jamie. Because her mother is basically a monster, she's never left the flat. This changes when all the children from the city are sent to the country for the start of WWII. Ugh. It's so heartbreaking and beautiful. I've never seen child trauma portrayed so skillfully. I thought it would be a hard read to I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying! OMG you guys. This book is so freaking good. Ada is a tween girl born with a club foot living in a flat in London with her (horrible!!!) mother and little brother Jamie. Because her mother is basically a monster, she's never left the flat. This changes when all the children from the city are sent to the country for the start of WWII. Ugh. It's so heartbreaking and beautiful. I've never seen child trauma portrayed so skillfully. I thought it would be a hard read to get through, but it's such an easy read. Ada is such a great character, as is Susan. All the side characters are well-drawn as well. I so very much hope that there is a sequel!
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  • Rebecca McNutt
    January 1, 1970
    Books like this one for children, ones about just being a kid and living life, don't come around too much anymore. I was really surprised by just how inspirational and creative The War that Saved My Life was, and I could see it going down as one of the more popular books out there for younger readers.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Pulled into the parking lot on this wintry afternoon with one CD left to go. Did I go into the store or shiver in my truck to hear the end? I'm still cold. Totally worth it.
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