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The War that Saved My Life Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 8, 2015
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From School Library Journal
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
- 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
- Best Sellers Rank: #48,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Ada, the protagonist and narrator, is 10, so it's nice for my daughter to listen to a story about a girl her age. However, Ada's world is very different from my daughter's, and not just because her story is set in England at the outbreak of World War II. She comes from a background of abuse and physical disability that make her feel worthless. Then she and her brother Jamie escape from London into the countryside of Kent as part of a group of evacuee children removed from London for fear of German bombs. Since this happens in 1939, they're ahead of the Battle of Britain, but throughout the book, the war finds its way into their lives with their guardian, Susan Smith, a single woman nursing her own sorrows and disappointments.
The war in the book isn't just the Second World War - it's also Ada's struggle to come to terms with herself in a world that is different from the one she's known for so long. Suddenly she's faced with kindness, surrounded by people whose understanding of her bears no resemblance to many of the things she believes about herself. As the rest of the world falls apart, Ada finds herself experiencing stability and safety that she's never had before, and it's both comforting and terrifying to her. Even as she is given the freedom and encouragement to become herself, she struggles to find anything she trusts enough to hold on to. This often makes Ada challenging and difficult, but Susan, for all her own struggles, turns out to have the compassion and smarts to meet her where she is.
Some of Ada's conflict may prove difficult for young readers to comprehend; as an adult, I found it compelling and believable. My daughter seems to get the gist of it when I check in with her, which I try to do regularly as we read. There are a lot of well-drawn characters around Ada, Jamie, and Susan, along with enough historical detail to keep the reader engaged and invested throughout. I reached the end wanting to know more about Ada's story, but at the same time, the author's decision to end the story where she does also makes a lot of sense. By then, the novel has earned its title, and there's reason to feel hopeful about what the future holds for Ada, Jamie, and Susan.
Read this book.
“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.”
Content: Ada, the main character, is severely abused--verbally, physically, and emotionally. This is heavy but handled well by the author.
Religious: No. There are some parts where the kids go to church. But this is not religious.
The book also does an amazing job of showing how the physical and emotional abuse faced by Ada and to a lesser extent Jaime, affected them and their choices. My daughter and I spent a lot of time discussing why Ada acted in a certain way. We often stopped and dissected the scenes even going so far as to discuss PTSD when Ada was afraid of going into the little bomb shelter that brought back the fear of being locked in the damp, crowded, bug-infested cabinet under the kitchen sink in her mam's flat. The author does such a great job of sharing with the reader Ada's inner turmoil and fears. We also spent some time discussing Jaime's behavior and even Susan's. Understanding Mam was much more difficult so I just explained to my daughter that sometimes we do not understand why people do horrible things. Even if we did understand Mam, it would not excuse her for the choices she made. They were still her choices.
One reviewer mentioned the bad language. There are a few times bloody (which is a bad word in the U.K. but not here) and hell are used. The only word I edited out on the fly as I was reading to my 7-year-old was sl@t. Mam calls Susan a "lazy sl@t in a fancy house." I substituted cow and my daughter did not notice. I also decided not to go into Susan and Becky's relationship. The book says they were friends from university and that explanation was perfectly fine for my 7-year-old.
This is a great book packed with insights not only into the time period of war torn England from the perspective of a child but also into the timeless themes of human nature.
Top reviews from other countries
Even when I read those scenes I was shocked, and I couldn't understand the beginning until it was explained that the mother was ashamed that her daughter was a "cripple". She wouldn't let her daughter Ada go outside or go to the school, she simply didn't want her daughter to be seen as she felt she'd be ridiculed by neighbours. I think parents need to tell their children when they read them this that they are loved and will never be treated this way, or it could scare the children. I felt scared and I'm an adult. It also gets a bit repetitive that Ada keeps saying "you never wanted us", "you didn't want us" many times throughout the book. Sometimes it felt her anger was unfounded, but maybe the writer wanted to say that her abuse gave her anxiety issues and insecurity, so when she doesn't understand something, a feeling for example, she gets angry and starts to act out.
Luckily, the children escape their horrible London home as war evacuees and start their life over with a lonely and sad lady called Susan. There the children are well looked after, loved, fed 3 meals a day, bathe every night, make friends, help the war effort, learn to ride, learn to write, and most importantly, feel needed for the first time in their lives. So, they are saved by the war, as they would have never known this life had they always stayed with their mad and ignorant mother. I felt the ending was too quick, as I wasn't prepared for it to end so suddenly. I half expected a chapter about Ada going to school, winning riding competitions after the war etc, and maybe Susan will find love. An enjoyable read and good pacing, recommend for children 11+
However, one thing that I noticed is that some parts of the story are very smilar to a book I read (also about the war) but I am sure it is was just a coincidenceas the rest of the story is incredible.
I would recommend this to anyone between the ages of 10-12 however I think anybody would enjoy it
all on the same page. I hope this author has more books to offer. She is definitely through to the next round.
i am still crying from the ending! 1000% recommended