26 February 2021

Guest Review: The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley book cover

Today it's my great pleasure to introduce a new guest reviewer to Carpe Librum readers. Silje Kinkead lives in France and loves to read, and I'm sure you'll enjoy her review of The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Over to you Silje.

About Silje

I’m 12 years old. I was born in Brisbane but I live in France, I love reading, history (but not the stuff I learn at school), and sport (especially skiing).

Silje's Review

The world is on the brink of war and nine year old Ada is abused by her mother for being physically deformed. But when the bombs start falling over London, it will change Ada’s life for the better.

Ada’s little brother, Jamie, is allowed to run around outside, explore the world, and have fun with other kids his age. Ada knows nothing of the world except the poverty of London’s East End before World War 2 except the stories her brother tells. She is locked inside her mother’s tiny London flat and forbidden to contact the outside world. But come the day of the evacuation, Ada has to make what will turn out to be a life changing decision - should she defy her mother and evacuate the city with Jamie.

In The War that Saved My Life Ada has to deal with overcoming her belief that she is “a monster” and “a disgrace”, and deal with the fact that their mother never really did love or care for her and Jamie. Ada has to learn to love herself and come to realise that she is much more than her clubfoot. But the dangers of wartime are ever closer. The germans could invade, a bomb could kill them, or for Ada especially, the intimidating reality of their mother taking them back.

This is one of my favourite books. A moving story about a girl during World War 2 learning to trust, care for, be cared for, and love people other than just her brother. Don’t be put off by thinking that this book is simply about stuff like that though. There is plenty of action and every page is engaging and interesting - and even my mum read and thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I highly recommend this book. You can really feel as if you’re part of the story yourself. It is very realistic and will appeal to anyone who is fond of a more serious children or young adult’s fiction book.


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 for 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?

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

Silje's Rating:

Would you like to comment?

  1. I, too, just finished this book and gave it an excellent rating. It's hard to believe that there are people in this world who would deny their children medical treatment and then call them freaks. Nonetheless, I suppose there must be.
    The author has done a great job of creating both Ada and Susan Smith. I cheered loudly throughout, and might have even shed a few tears. ;-)

    1. Wow, high praise indeed, I'm so glad you loved this one too Debbie! It's so rare to find a book that makes you cheer and shed a tear isn't it?


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