War That Saved My Life – book review

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The War That Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Historical Fiction
Juvenile Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Ada (11) was born with a clubfoot and lives with her mam and little brother, Jamie, in London, where she is required to stay hidden from the world.  When the war (WWII) breaks out, Ada takes the opportunity to evacuate herself and Jamie to the countryside, where they are put in the care of Susan Smith, a capable, if inexperienced with children, caregiver.  Ada gradually comes out of her shell as she learns that her “foot is a long way from [her] brain” and empowers herself to learn all kinds of things – most particularly how to ride Susan’s pony, Butter.  Ada’s feelings about Susan and her mam are conflicted – she doesn’t want to accept Susan’s love, because she’s only temporary, and she doesn’t want to acknowledge that her mam has probably never loved her.  She also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks when she is reminded of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mam.  Equally uplifting and heartbreaking, this is a powerful and moving work of historical fiction whose main character eventually blossoms and triumphs over the obstacles before her.

Reviewed by YA Librarian