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The War that Saved My Life Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 8, 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 3,191 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—Bradley turns her keen historical eye from Monticello (Jefferson's Sons, Penguin, 2011) to the British home front during World War II. Ada isn't exactly sure how old she is; for as long as she can remember, she's been a virtual prisoner in her mother's third floor one-room apartment. She was born with a clubfoot and her mother uses her disability as an excuse to abuse her both emotionally and physically. Ada watches the world through the narrow confines of the apartment window, waves to neighbors in the street, and carefully gauges the danger of being beaten during each encounter with her hateful mother. She envies the freedom of her little brother, Jamie, who goes to school and generally roves the neighborhood at will. When her mother prepares to ship Jamie out to the countryside with other children being evacuated from London, Ada sneaks out with him. When the two fail to be chosen by any villagers, the woman in charge forces Susan Smith, a recluse, to take them in. Though Susan is reluctant and insists that she knows nothing about caring for children, she does so diligently and is baffled by the girl's fearful flinching anytime Ada makes a mistake. Though uneducated, Ada is intensely observant and quick to learn. Readers will ache for her as she misreads cues and pushes Susan away even though she yearns to be enfolded in a hug. There 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 exhibited by Ada and the villagers who grow to love and accept her.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

Review

A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award (Middle School)
Winner of the Josette Frank Award
Winner of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award
Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books of 2015
New York Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Books 2015
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2015
Kirkus Best Books of 2015
Horn Book Fanfare Book 2015

"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." —The 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.” —Kirkus, starred review

 "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. "—Publishers Weekly, starred review

 "Involving, poignant, nuanced . . . This is a feel-good story, but an earned one . . . distinct and powerful in its own right." —The Horn Book, starred review

"There 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

"The home-front realities of WWII, as well as Ada’s realistic anger and fear, come to life in Bradley’s affecting and austerely told story, and readers will cheer for steadfast Ada as she triumphs over despair." —Booklist

"Skillful, smooth . . . Ada's tough journey from brokenness to healing is poignantly credible in its development and emotionally satisfying outcome. . . . The feel-good appeal of the rescue fantasy combines with the increasingly tense World War II backdrop to make this an effective page-turner." —BCCB

“Expertly operating on many different levels, this exquisitely written novel incorporates themes of self-discovery and self-worth, strength of family, the power of love, and the many different kinds of courage. . . . Heart-lifting.” —Joy Fleishhacker for School Library Journal

"In lesser hands than those of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, the plot might tumble into cliché, but thanks to Ada's unforgettable character and unflinching voice, you're too busy cheering her on. . . . Artfully woven." —Common Sense Media 

"An astounding novel. Will you cry and rejoice and hold your breath? Absolutely. Will you find the book as exciting, wise, and profound as I did? Yes. This book is remarkable." —Karen Cushman, author of Newbery Medal winner The Midwife's Apprentice

"A moving story with an authentic voice. Beautifully told." —Patricia MacLachlan, author of Newbery Medal winner Sarah, Plain and Tall

"I love Ada's bold heart, keen wit, and amazingly fresh point of view. Her story's riveting. I was with her every step of the way." —Sheila Turnage, author of Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky

"In Ada's small war lies our large hope that love cannot, will not, be overcome. I read this novel in two big gulps." —Gary D. Schmidt, author of National Book Award finalist Okay for Now

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Product details

  • Publisher : Dial Books; 1st edition (January 8, 2015)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0803740816
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0803740815
  • Reading age : 9 - 12 years
  • Lexile measure : 580L
  • Grade level : 4 - 7
  • Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.75 x 1.06 x 8.56 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 3,191 ratings

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
3,191 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

Jiao Jiao Wang
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read but could be a little traumatising for young children
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 22, 2018
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2021
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Miriam
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2020
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Black Dog
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book.She paints great pictures with her words.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2017
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ellie discombe
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely amazing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 17, 2020
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