Book Review

Book Review: The War I Finally Won (The War That Saved My Life #2) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: MG Historical Fiction
Length: 387 pages
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ada and her younger brother, Jamie, now have a permanent home with their loving legal guardian, Susan Smith. Although Jamie adapts more easily, Ada still struggles with the aftermath of her old life, and how to fit into her new life.

World War II continues, and forces the small community to come together and rely on one another. Ada has never been interested in getting to know her friend’s family—especially Maggie’s mother, the formidable Lady Thorton. However, circumstances bring them in close proximity along with other unexpected characters.

Ada comes face to face with another German! This time she isn’t sure what she should do. How can she help the ones she loves and keep them safe?

Ada’s first story, The War that Saved My Life, won a Newbery Honor, the Schneider Family Book Award, and the Josette Frank Award, in addition to appearing on multiple best-of-the-year lists. This second, marvelous volume continues Ada’s powerful, uplifting story.

AS BEAUTIFUL AS THE FIRST.

Ohhhhh my gosh. My heart. Ada. Jamie. Susan. The whole dang cast. READ THESE BOOKS. What an absolute gem for all ages.

I didn’t know if a second book was going to have enough plot in Ada’s life to further an entire second book and I stand completely corrected because this had everything it needed. I love the growth in Ada and yet how you could still feel her age. And not in that annoying, roll your eyes, kind of way. In that raw, going through grief and big changes and big emotions, kind of way. I loved it. It was executed so perfectly for this kind of book.

This was definitely a read that made me cry (iykyk). Many times I was brought through a flurry of emotions because of the travesty of war and heartbreak it causes. Yet, I love the hope that’s also infused. The love shown for those different from ourselves and extending needed hands of friendship and compassion. Many, many good things in this duology y’all. I will recommend it up and down. One of my new all time favorite World War 2 historical fiction books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Violence: surgery
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a loved one, debilitating sickness resulting in hospitalization, war themes

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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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