Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2017
Libby’s Literary Corner for Young Readers: Ages 9-12, Grades 4-7 “The War that Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a multi-award winner, including the Schneider Family Award for sensitively dealing with folks of various abilities. In the midst of WWII London’s children including Ada and her younger brother Jamie, are sent into England’s countryside to keep them safe from German bombs. They leave their abusive mother and are placed with a resistant host, a single woman named Susan who makes it clear that she is not interested in being a host. She is steeped in the grief of losing her dear friend, Betsy, and her heart isn’t looking to melt anytime soon. Ada has spent her whole life sequestered in the family apartment with a mother who has convinced her that because of her crippled foot she will always be worthless, a mother who takes out all of her own life’s disappointments on this young daughter. Two strangers, Ada and Susan steeped in more than just WWII, have to find a way to coexist. Susan is slowly drawn out of her sorrow when she becomes aware of the unimaginably horrible background her young guests have had. It’s an uphill battle to convince Ada of her worth and potential. WWII is about to arrive at their doorstep and it’s going to take everything they have to survive it. With the help of her sweet brother Jamie, Butter the pony, and Susan’s perseverance, Ada begins to wonder if it’s possible that she does have value. Could she experience friendship, a parent’s love? This is one of those two-steps-forward and one-step-back (on good days) books, a tale that reveals the damage done and not uneasily undone when children are abused. For older readers or top readers who enjoy this topic, I suggest “Goodnight, Mr. Tom” which has the same theme, but the story involves a young abused boy who is placed with an old curmudgeon of a man in the country during WWII. My top readers loved that story, I enjoyed reading it with Noah, and many high school sophomore classes used it as required reading. Unforgettable! Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has other worthwhile books under her belt like “Jefferson’s Sons” and I look forward to fall’s release of the sequel “The War I Finally Won”. This is historical fiction at its finest.
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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
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