The War that Saved my Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Hello everybody! I was planning to write this review on Thanksgiving, but that didn’t happen, so here it is now.

Goodreads Summary:

(by the way, I got a Goodreads account, which has actually turned out to be pretty cool, but that’s for another post…)

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 is my second favorite book I’ve read, behind only the sequel, The War I Finally Won.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars; an amazing book!


(I’d do 50 out of 5 stars if I could!!!)


The characters in this story are very detailed, and are not only described in depth during the book, they also have backstories. Their histories are also told to the reader, and that makes the book even more complete. Here are a few sentences on a couple of the main characters:


Ada is so strong, and so brave. She takes care of herself and her little brother Jamie, so when Susan Smith takes her and her brother in, she doesn’t think she needs to be taken care of.

Susan Smith:

Susan still mourns the death of her closest friend Becky, and she doesn’t think that she can take in two children, but she learns a lot from the experience.

Lady Thorton:

Lady Thorton lost her two brothers in the first world war, and is terrified at the idea of her son Jonathon becoming a pilot, and she is determined to do her part at home to make the war end quicker. She is very active in the war efforts, and it’s her who places Ada and Jamie with Susan.


The overall plot is about Ada’s everyday life living with Susan, but there are many ‘subplots‘ if that’s even a thing. Stuff like Ada learning to ride Butter, Susan’s horse, or Jamie’s frequent visits to the airfield, are twisted into the plot in ways that fit together and make sense.

One of the most remarkable things about The War that Saved my Life is that Kimberly Brubaker Bradley makes a book about someone’s everyday life interesting. I know that Ada’s life is not normal; there are many aspects in which Ada has so many crazy things going on. However, Ada is shown as a regular girl, with some extraordinary stuff happening in her life, and its interesting to read! Usually, most people would find a book about a regular kid’s life boring, but Kimberly Brubaker Bradley takes the crazy stuff happening to Ada away, and shows that deep down, she’s just a regular ten-year-old girl.

I don’t know if that last paragraph made any sense, but basically what I was saying was that Ada has crazy stuff going on, but Kimberly Brubaker Bradley puts that away and instead writes about the story the kid who wants to learn to ride a horse, and writes about a kid falls asleep in the field and gets a sunburn. Ada’s clubfoot is a big part of the story, but it’s not her defining feature.

How I first read this book/where I got the copy:

This was my summer reading book when I was nine. At my public library, each summer you get a free book, and I chose The War that Saved my Life!


Overall, this book is amazing. The War that Saved my Life seems sad, but really, once Ada and Jamie are introduced to Susan, only a few chapters in, if you stick with the book, it is so amazing and happy!

I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of historical fiction, and realistic fiction. Actually I recommend this book no matter what! It’s technically a YA book, but younger kids and adults will equally get a lot out of it.

What do you think? Have you read The War that Saved my Life? Chat with me in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

4 thoughts on “The War that Saved my Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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