The War that Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

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.

Nine-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.

Newbery Honor book in 2016

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said “Really beautiful book! A tragic, but ultimately triumphant, story. Ada is a great heroine!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★ and said, “I adore this book both for the story it tells and the stories it doesn’t. The story it tells of crippled Ada, her abusive mother, and her and her brother’s redemption by semi-reclusive Susan during a harrowing war is wonderfully told. The stories hinted at could have been quickly outlined, but were given just enough form to leave me asking, ‘What made her mother into this cruel monster?’ ‘What happened between Susan and her family?’ ‘Will they be able to survive the dangers and hard times ahead?’ I’m enjoying flushing out these other stories in my mind. And in truth, they are other stories. Spelling out the details would only have detracted from Ada’s tale, and Ada’s tale needs no help. It can stand on it’s own, as can she.”

Miranda rated it ★★★★ and said, “When I think about WWII, I think about concentration camps, Pearl Harbor, and the Holocaust. This book brought light to another part of the war, and specifically to a young brother and sister living on the edge of society. I felt much for Ada and her brother and all of the issues they faced. It was interesting to see how the author portrayed their emotional baggage and the ways that it affected them and how they coped. I can see how this can be a great read for older tweens, but I don’t think that younger kids will be able to pick up on all of the subtleties and exactly what they were going through.”

Lorna rated it ★★★★ and said, “4 1/2 stars. I loved the 1st person narrative and the way it brought out Ada’s vulnerability and fragileness, yet her courage and determination shine through. It was a high interest story and the chapters just melted into one another as I wanted to just keep going with it. The ending was a tad over the top with sentimentality but it was uplifting and poignant.”

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