Book Review

Book Review: The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life #1) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: MG Historical Fiction
Length: 316 pages
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: January 8th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.
 
Ten-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.

TEAR INDUCING.

This book hits hard. Personally as a Mom, this hit even harder. I was wrapped up in many many emotions by that ending and found this book utterly captivating in its poignancy.

I love how many things were handled. Ada is clearly suffering from the abuse she dealt with living with her Mom. When she and her brother end up with Susan things start to slowly turn around. This wasn’t some flip of a switch and everything was sunny. It was hard work and Susan showed so much compassion and patience that it made my heart burst.

This is a middle-grade book that is without a doubt appropriate for all ages. The depth of the writing and characters made everything feel so real. I felt like this gave another angle to World War 2 and what was happening with a lot of the children at that time. Ada had incredibly growth throughout the novel and wow did I want to hug her so many times. I love that she found a passion she could enjoy and a friend or two to lean on.

Watching Susan, Ada and Jamie find a way to heal together through grief and depression brought my soul hope. This is really a story for all and I am definitely reading the next book. I need more of this story and these characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Violence: war themes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and emotional child abuse, ableism, depictions of grief and depression, PTSD (from abuse), depiction of anxiety and panic attacks

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