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The War That Saved My Life Paperback – 31 May 2016
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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
About the Author
- Publisher : Puffin Books; Reprint edition (31 May 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0147510481
- ISBN-13 : 978-0147510488
- Reading age : 9 - 12 years
- Item Weight : 255 g
- Dimensions : 13.18 x 2.34 x 19.84 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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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 think it's a great book, well written, good story!