Book Review: The War I Finally Won

November 16, 2017

The War I Finally Won
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
402 pages
Kindle Edition

From the Publisher: When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now?

World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thorton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy?

As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?

Ada’s first story, The War that Saved My Life, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and won a Newbery Honor, the Schneider Family Book Award, and the Josette Frank Award, in addition to appearing on multiple best-of-the-year lists. This second masterwork of historical fiction continues Ada’s journey of family, faith, and identity, showing us that real freedom is not just the ability to choose, but the courage to make the right choice.


I read – and loved The War That Saved My Life early last year, you can read my review here.  When I heard there was going to be sequel to it I was super excited!

The War I Finally Won is a middle grade fiction that continues that story of Ada, after her club foot is fixed.  The war is still taking place but her, Susan and Jamie are figuring out how they fit together and how their life will continue. Can Ada learn to love – and allow herself to be loved too?  There are SO many lessons in both books about love, family, kindness.  Finding out who you really are…I think one of my favorite passages is when Ada said:

“On the day I was evacuated, I’d looked out the window of our train and seen a girl galloping a pony, racing the train.  Now I was that girl, galloping, laughing, my head thrown back, the wind tugging my hair.  I’d become the person I’d longed to be”

But then what happens?  And does that mean she is truly happy?

Ruth, a German, comes into the story and this is where it really gets interesting. Even though she is Jewish, she is still a German and it’s a a huge conflict for many of the characters.  I felt that Ruth’s character really helped this sequel be what it is – the story could have continued but it needed just a little more -and Ruth was the it factor in this book.  She added just what the reader needed.  Although, as I read the story, I could’t imagine myself being put in her situation.

This book as a stand alone would work alright – but I really believe you need to read them in order to really enjoy the story to it’s fullest.  Both are geared towards middle readers but I truly believe adults would love them as well.

If you have a reader on your Christmas list – a set of both of these books would make a fantastic gift.  I really should look into reading other books by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, she is such a talented storyteller!  Every historical fiction fan should read these books.

5 Stars!

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