The War that Saved My Life

Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 2 - 12Z4.162451

#1 New York Times Bestseller
Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award (Middle School)
Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books of 2015
New York Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War II, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.

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?

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
Published on January 8, 2015 by Dial Books
ISBN-10: 0803740816
ISBN-13: 9780803740815
65 Book Reviews
  • adroit_avimimus
    adroit_avimimus4 months55 stars
    In the midst of a reading slump I decided to try a different genre – middle grade fiction. I’ve seen great reviews and when an friend also recommended it, I decided to pick it up. What a gem! Eleven-year-old Ada was born with a clubfoot and her abusive and cruel mother uses it as an excuse to keep her a prisoner in their one room apartment, often in a tiny closet as ‘punishment’ for minor infractions. The family lives in England during WWII. To escape the war, Ada's mother prepares to evacuate her brother, Jamie, out to the countryside where families have agreed to take children in for the duration. But not Ada, since according to her mom, “no one would want her”, but Jamie is her life and Ada sneaks out with him anyway. They make their way to the countryside and are reluctantly taken in by Susan, a recluse who has issues of her own. Ada, not surprisingly, struggles with navigating the outside world, and has anxiety and trust issues. “I wanted Mam to be like Susan. I didn’t really trust Susan not to be like Mam.” The author does a great job of realistically depicting Ada’s struggles without overplaying it. How these three learn to live and heal together, along with the age-appropriate realistic depiction of WWII, made for a riveting read that was never juvenile, boring, or manipulative. I fell in love with all the characters, but I simply adored spunky, determined Ada. War is terrible, but this war literally saved Ada’s life. Watching her growth as a character amid the tension and intrigue of WWII was an utter delight. This is right up there among the best. Highly recommended for all ages.
    • yummylarkragiuo
      yummylarkragiuo4 months55 stars
      From the time she was born, Ada hasn't been able to run or walk properly. She has a twisted foot or a "clubfoot." Because of that, her mother, or "Mam," as Ada calls her, has never allowed her outside. But secretly, Ada practices walking. One day though, Ada learns that her brother Jamie might be sent off to live in the country. (this book happens during World War II) Ada can't believe it! She needs to protect her little brother! So Ada follows him onto a train. They arrive at a little town in the country. (I forgot the name). Nobody wants them, so Lady Thorton, the director of the WVS, forces a woman named Susan to take her. After a while, Susan begins to like the children. Ada learns to do fun things, like how to ride a horse. But what if Ada's Mam comes to get them?
      • angelgirl123
        angelgirl1235 months55 stars
        I had this for summer reading and i loved it so heartbreaking and warming, and so sentimental , ‘the war that saved my life is about a girl named Ada an she live in England during war time Also her book has a sequel and it is just and maybe more good as the first
        • doglover346
          doglover3467 months55 stars
          this book is for anyone who likes war and history
          • techfashion0315
            techfashion03158 months55 stars
            I love this book, my family and I listened to this audiobook.
            • alannahb
              alannahb9 months
              It was a sad book but also exciting book. And her backstory was sad but I'm glad it saved her life and it very interesting to read!
              • d1no
                d1no9 months55 stars
                this book is about a girl named Ada and her mother[mam] is trying to get her out the house by abusing her so in the first part she tryed to escape many times. But always she get caught then her mother would abuse her by grabing her hand a throwing her on a wall and if you want to read this READ THIS.
                • ramirezj1
                  ramirezj19 months55 stars
                  this book is about a girl named Ada her mother is trying to abuse her she tried many times to escape out of the house the window but her mom would always found out what she was doing. ada mother is cruel to Ada she mostly beats Ada intil she bleeds which makes kinda sad for Ada. her mother is abuseive
                  • wolfy_blue
                    wolfy_blueabout 1 year
                    This seems like a exciting but sad book!
                    • chloe1103
                      chloe1103over 1 year44 stars
                      This book is actually the first book of 'The war I finally won'. It tells Ada and her little brother's story before they met Susan. I almost cried when Ada's mom gave a cruel approach to Ada! I could say this book is the setting of the story, like features and how they lived, and how they met. So it wasn't entertaining and heartwarming as the second one, so I just recommend this book to you guys just to know some background knowledge.

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