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An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds, set during World War II.
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room flat. 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 for Ada, and for Miss Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take in the two children. 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.
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has written several historical novels for children and young adults, including the bestselling Newbery Honor Book The War that Saved My Life. She lives on a farm in Tennessee with her husband and two young children.
‘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.’ 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.’ STARRED reviewKirkus
‘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.’ STARRED reviewPublishers Weekly
‘Bradley presents this episode in Britain’s history in a form that young readers will appreciate, learn from and enjoy: a moral tale wrapped up in an adventure story…A moving and uplifting read.’ BookMooch
‘A beautifully written and very moving book, bound to be an instant classic…A beautiful story of hope and family.’ Booktopia
‘Heartwarming…A delightful WWII story with a totally winning protagonist.’ Paper Fury
‘Comforting in its familiarity…Ada's voice is honest and authentic and true…It's a lovely little novel to curl up with on a rainy day, that took me back to the novels I read and loved as a child.’ Steph Bowe
‘Ada’s transformation from an angry young woman into a confident lady is imaginatively drawn.’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘A moving and captivating story.’ Best Middle Fiction Books of 2016, Readings
‘A stunning story that will pluck you into its events and carry you along to its brilliant ending as if you were a feather on a strong, steady breeze.
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Bestselling author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s confronting, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting story for young adults.
'Parts of this story are scary, but trust me: no one needs to be afraid. Hope and love win out.’ Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Della can’t work out why her adored older sister Suki screams in her sleep. Suki has always been Della’s protector, especially after their mother went to prison and her boyfriend took the sisters in. But who has been protecting Suki?
Della is in trouble at school for having a big mouth, but after she stands up to the class bully other girls rally to her cause. When Suki tries to kill herself, Della decides it’s time to tell their secrets and speak out about the terrible things that happened to Suki. Bound by love and trauma, these two sisters must find their own voices before they can find their way back to each other.
Based on the author’s personal experience, this gripping and essential story explodes the stigma around child sexual abuse. Written from the heart, with tenderness, compassion and humour, Fighting Words is about finding the words to talk about the most difficult things in young adults’ lives.
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a Newbery Honor winner and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She is popular for her fiction and non-fiction. Her novels The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won are Middle-Grade bestsellers. Fighting Words is her first Young-Adult book in Australia and New Zealand. Kimberly lives with her family on a farm in Tennessee.
‘Fighting Words has so many important things to say about girls and their bodies, about agency, power and consent. Della and Suki’s story of sisterhood and found family can be challenging and affecting—it’s also funny, uplifting and ultimately triumphant. Books like this can change lives.’ Vikki Wakefield, author of This Is How We Change the Ending
‘Fighting Words deftly guides readers through some very dark places and safely back into the light. Della’s voice is feisty and true, her emotional journey compelling. Respecting its readership, this beautifully written novel deals in an unflinching but age-appropriate way with difficult material and will prompt important conversations. Highly recommended.’ Fiona Wood, author of Cloudwish
‘We need more books like this. Unflinching, funny and important, Fighting Words is for all the forgotten kids, the ones who don’t fit in, the ones who are hurt. An exceptionally written story that takes you to dark places but where you never feel unsafe, a story to make you laugh and cry and wish for a better world. I could not put it down.’ Eleni Hale, author of Stone Girl
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