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The War That Saved My Life

The War That Saved My Life

Book - 2015
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Jun 12, 2021


May 11, 2021

The War That Saved my Life is a historical fiction book that is very touching. This book is about a girl who is neglected and abused but pushes herself to get out of her bad situation and find herself a new life. I do not normally like books that involve history and wars, but this book is an exception! The War That Saved my Life hooks you from the beginning and engages you in the story. This book not only was enjoyable to read, but also taught me a bit about what some kids had to go through in World War 2. 5/5 -@Chiaki_ of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

May 10, 2021

This is a heartbreaking story of abuse and rescue, due to chilling WWII circumstances that triggered the mass evacuation of children from London while the German Luftwaffe bombed the city.

Ada has a club foot, much to the chagrin and embarrassment of her bar-serving mother, who never lets her leave the house. But as her younger, physically perfect little brother grows up, he starts to leave Ada behind, playing outdoors with the other boys he discovers.

She's never pushed her mother's limits and walking on the foot is incredibly painful, but she'll do whatever she thinks she has to, to keep her little brother.

Then WWII breaks out, and soon, the city is evacuating all the children, parents saying goodbye to their kids, and putting them on trains for the countryside while anticipating German bombing.

Ada's mom makes plans to evacuate her brother, but not her. Ada manages to get to the train station and out of London in time and together the siblings end up with a curmudgeonly old woman who also owns a much-neglected pony.

The woman steady acceptance of Ada slowly works at Ada's insecurities, and Ada works right back at the old woman, prodding her to take better care of the pony. Ada thrives and flourishes, expanding her world and universe on her own, as well.

But when the old woman writes to Ada's mom to get permission for a surgery on Ada's foot, it sparks a response from Mom that threatens to take Ada away from the only security and acceptance she's ever known. Once she's taken away, will she ever make it back?

Be prepared to cry your eyes out on this one. The parts with the abuse are horrible to read but important, too, and the message of the importance of reporting physical as well as emotional abuse is one some students will need to hear.

Apr 26, 2021

This book was amazing! My 13 year-old had read it 4 times and raved about it. I doubted, but I should not have. It was touching and interesting and a wonderful, human read. I highly recommend it! I listened to the audiobook and the reader was especially talented.

FPL_Jenni Apr 17, 2021

The War that Saved my Life is an incredibly engaging historical fiction novel that has received multiple awards and nominations, including the Schneider Family Book Award and a Newberry Honor book selection. The book features Ada, a physically disabled child, as the main protagonist as she and her brother struggle to adapt in a new household with a caring guardian. Both of them struggle due to the fact that their mother neglected and abused them their entire life, so being placed in the care of Susan, a woman who cares about them and tries to help them, is difficult for the pair to come to terms to. Bradley creates an incredibly heartwarming tale in a time where nothing is certain and everything is terrifying, due to the war that is going at the time, that focuses on choosing one's family. Bradley portrays Ada's feelings, including her anger and confusion, perfectly through her stylized writing. All in all, The War that Saved my Life is an incredible read that is sure to capture the heart of any reader.

Mar 15, 2021

This book hooked me almost from the beginning. As a survivor of child abuse, it was difficult to read, but it was well worth it. At times I was angry, at times I was in tears. A very powerful and moving book. I would suggest for a parent to read this prior just to ensure your child can handle such a tough topic. The abuse depicted is both physical and emotional. And there is the word sl*t. I don't give 5 stars easily on books, but this is definitely a 5-star book!

Feb 09, 2021

This book is about how life can be harsh but there is always a way to have a happy life!

Jan 23, 2021

each time i sit down to read a chapter or 2 I end up crying. SUCH AN AMAZING BOOK. DEFINITLY 5/5

Dec 30, 2020

This is an easy read, probably more in the young adult category. I was entertained.

JCLRachelN Dec 10, 2020

This story has been recommended to me by some of our younger library users and I'm pleased to say it lived up to its praise. At times it was difficult to read due to Ada's experiences and the War. Despite this, the story contains a lot of heart, hope, and growth, leaving this reader with warm fuzzies. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, The War I Finally Won.

Nov 20, 2020

I am enjoying this World War 2 Book! Ada and Jamie are totally awesome Characters in this Book! I hope everyone can read it! It’s awesome!

Aug 24, 2020

This book is really a true story for kids 5/5 star rating.

SAPL_Teens Aug 14, 2020

A really touching and good book. It teaches me to be grateful for what I have. 5/5 stars - SAPL Teen Read It & Review Contributor

Jul 08, 2020

beware of the abuse in this book. although it is a fascinating tail about ada and her brother
getting evacuated because of world war 2.soon you will find that they embark on a series of exiting and terrifying events. i hope that at least one of you will read this book.

Jul 06, 2020

From Kimberly Brubaker Bradley comes the story of ten-year-old Ava as she fights to survive World War II along with her brother Jamie. Due to her deformed clubfoot, Ava has been locked in her apartment, and when the war begins, she and her brother escape to London. Here, Susan Smith is forced to take the two children in, raising them and protecting them throughout the period of war. Reading The War That Saved My Life, twice, (once at 10 and once at 14) I would say it’s an eye-opening book for younger kids. Parents may want to be slightly more cautious, as the book does contain scenes of abuse between Ava and her mother. However, the story does carry themes that are great for younger children, such as carrying through hard times, and not letting anything hold you back. The War That Saved My Life is also helpful for opening people’s eyes over physical deformities. With that said, The War That Saved My Life leans toward a slower pace in the middle of the book. While the scenes described are interesting, they don’t necessarily move the plot along. Although the book never gets old, I would say it’s a better read for younger children between 10-12.

OPL_KIDS Apr 29, 2020

The War That Saved My Life is a moving (and sometimes emotionally challenging) story about Ada and her brother's fight to survive World War II while coping with Ada's uncorrected club foot. In Ada's case, the fight for survival is as much a mental fight as a physical one due to the emotional and physical abuse that she endured from her mother. The abuse leaves her with mental scars that create challenges even as the plot develops and situations improve. The depth of emotion in this story feels a bit shallow at times, but I can see as to why that might be called for in a children's novel dealing with such an emotionally challenging issue. It may even have been written that way to more fully express Ada's fluctuating ability to process and cope with the traumas she experienced. Parents should be made aware that there is one instance in which Ada's mother calls someone a word that some parents may consider inappropriate for some children. There was also one particular plot resolution that I felt was unrealistic, but not so notable as to affect the overall value of the story. Overall, it's definitely a book I would recommend to anyone interested in juvenile historical fiction (as long as they are ready for the emotionally challenging content). Additionally, readers who enjoy this story should DEFINITELY read the sequel, entitled The War I Finally Won. It's even better than the first.

Reviewed by Miss Allison

Mar 28, 2020

Ada is kept locked up by her abusive mother due to her deformed “ugly foot”. When it’s announced that her younger brother Jamie will be going to the country to escape the World War II bombing of London, Ada sees her chance and runs off with Jamie to join him. They are taken in by (or rather forced on) the reluctant but benevolent Susan Smith. At first, Ada and Jamie struggle to adjust to life away from their mother, but they slowly learn to trust Susan as she learns to love them. Ada learns to ride a horse, to read, and to appreciate that her foot is a long way from her brain and doesn’t define who she is or what she can do.

Ada’s tale of recovery and escape against the backdrop of a horrifying war is powerful and poignant. Bradley’s characters are incredibly realistic and believable, especially Ada. Her trust issues, rebellious nature, protective instincts, and determination make her a strong three-dimensional character that I can really believe in. The setting is extensively researched and presented. I had never realized just how real the threat of German invasion of England was. From the nightly air raids to the threat and reality of watching for spies, to the fact that they dug a hole in the yard so that they could bury their radio in case of an invasion, the war came to life in a different way than it has in anything else I’ve read about the time period. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Mar 16, 2020

The story was pretty sad at the beginning, because the protagonist, Ada, was being abused and treated like scum by her own mother, but then this really nice lady took Ada and her brother in. Great book that talks about hard stuff, but still good for kids.

Jan 22, 2020

Great book, but it definitely deals with some tuff topics. However I definitely think everyone should read this book at least once. And even though it was a little slow toward the middle I definitely enjoyed the book overall.

Jan 13, 2020

This is one of the best middle grade books I have read in a long time. It would be a great read-aloud and would deliver a good history lesson disguised as a terrific story.

Dec 07, 2019


thats tuff

ArapahoeTina Nov 20, 2019

I loved sharing this book with my 11-year-old daughter. Ada's story is simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting. This one hit all the right notes.

Oct 05, 2019

TW/CW for abuse & mental health descriptions

The War That Saved My Life is such a beautiful story about love and family and hardship. I wanted to comfort Ada and Jamie so badly. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has such a way with words and describing emotions without straight out telling you about the emotion. I definitely found myself sobbing at one point.

I'm kind of okay with just reading this one and not reading the second book in the series, but we'll see how I'll feel in the future.

Aug 18, 2019

The War that Saved My Life is such a good book, and I recommended it to all of my friends when I finished it. With an uncommon story, but a heartbreaking one, it is sure to draw you in and have you rushing to get the sequel, The War I Finally Won.
Happy reading!

Jun 11, 2019

Amazing book that kids who love the historical fiction novels would like. I definitely would suggest to 5th grader and up for the thrill of drama and sadness.

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