About My Book Reviews

Monday, May 10, 2021

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Series: The War that Saved My Life (Book 1)

Title: The War that Saved My Life

Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Published: 2015

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 6th-8th Grade

-Trigger Warning: Child neglect, Grief

-Features: Physical disability, Disassociation, Scapegoated child



Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle

Length: 7hrs 38 min

Recommend: Yes!


Blurb (from goodreads):

Ten-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.

My Scores:

Writing Style: Top Notch

This novel had me hooked the moment I learned it featured a physical disability, but I never expected it to be this amazing.

The voice of the MC, Ada Smith, is absolutely stunning. I felt all the pain of being a scapegoated child, all the joy of horseback riding, all the anxiety that caused disassociations, and all the complexity of being loved unconditionally.

I’m telling you, it’s as emotionally raw as a memoir about childhood trauma, and it is gut-wrenchingly accurate.

It was written in the UK English style, but I'm so used to it by now I almost forgot to mention it.


Characters: Absolutely Amazing

These characters are so complex they feel like real people. I love them so incredibly much that it hurts to realize that they’re fictional.

Ada Smith is a fantastic MC! I love her tenacious, gritty, and guarded personality. Her development is one of the most realistic, inspirational, and heart-warming transitions that I have ever read.  

The antagonist, Ada’s mother, is equally fantastic. I hated her with a passion typically reserved for the Nazis, Satan, and my ex-boyfriends. I personally felt the sting of every word she said, and it hurts my heart to know that there are actually people like her out there in the world.  


Plot: Absolute Page-Tuner

The plotline felt so original, despite it being set in WWII, because it was so focused on the wonderfully complex characters. There was never a dull moment and I never knew where the plot was headed, all I knew was that I was so excited that it’s a series!


Overall: Totally Obsessed

This book has become my new obsession! I agree whole-heartedly that it is “a classic in the making.” The characters are so complex they feel like genuine people, the plot is beyond engaging, and the writing style is gorgeous, emotionally raw, and absolutely brilliant.  


Messaging: Pro LGBTQ

Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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