Sunday, 4 January 2015

Review: The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: January 8th 2015 by Dial 
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction/Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is January 8, 2015.

I don't read much in the middle grade genre because I find it hard at times to detach from my adult brain in order to give a review that does justice. That was not the case with The War that Saved my Life. It was such a beautiful story that I think readers of all ages will thoroughly enjoy it regardless of the demographic it is intended for.

This is the story of Ada and Jamie who are shipped out of London to the country to escape the bombs. Sorry...let me correct myself. Jamie is sent off by his mother but not Ada as her mother deems her a "cripple" and no good to anybody. Ada does not let this stop her and sneaks off with her brother who she loves more than anything. Together they are placed with an extremely reluctant woman, Susan, who is dealing with issues of her own.

With the Second World War as a backdrop, this is a story of abuse, ability and disability, learning, growing, trusting, family, love and so much more. As the reader you are with these characters each step of the way as they "unlearn" everything they know and begin to understand, learn, and appreciate their full potential. It is heartbreaking and raw at times and yet beautiful at others. The strength that Ada gains both physically and mentally, is sure to inspire even the most reluctant reader.

I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages and envision it in many a middle grade classroom in the future. It was truly a beautiful story.

About the Author
I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1967, very near the small town that was the setting for my first book, Ruthie's Gift. I attended Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in chemistry just a few weeks before I married my high school sweetheart--Bart Bradley.

I studied chemistry in college because that was what I most loved to learn, but it's not what I most love to do, and I knew that even then. I remain always grateful that my sophomore roommate talked me into taking an Introduction to Children's Literature class, and that the teacher of that class, Patricia MacLachlan, not only encouraged my earliest writing, but helped me join a writer's group and learn both the art and the business of writing for children. (Jane Yolen ran that writer's group; I remain forever grateful to her as well.)

I worked as a freelance writer for equestrian magazines in college, and later as a part-time editor. While my husband was in medical school I worked as a research chemist, but wrote at night, on weekends, and sometimes in the very early morning--and from freelancing I moved onto ghost-writing. Fortunately, I began to get enough work that I could quit being a chemist at exactly the same time as I found out I was pregnant, with my son, Matthew, born in 1994.

Not long after that, we moved to Bristol, a small town on the Tennessee/Virginia border, where Bart joined an ophthalmology practice. Our daughter Katie was born in 1998. We live now on a 52-acre farm, with ponies, dogs, cats, sheep, goats, and lots and lots of trees. We are in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. I love it here. (From Goodreads profile)

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