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 book is so astounding, I really enjoyed it, from a kinda-adult perspective it is super meaningful, tackling topics such as child abuse, both physical and emotional, is a brave thing to do and makes this book anything but another war story.
Ada is imperfect and I think that is one of my favourite things about her, she is at times selfish, rude and dishonest yet she is also incredibly brave, strong, resilient and determined. She is incredibly human, and in a relatively short book, it's amazing how multi-faceted is illustrated to be.
We did this book for book club and on the back of the kids telling me that another book was too sad I was astonished by the popularity of this book. Both Ada's struggle and joy seem to really resonate with readers.
I recommend this one to 8+ readers, especially if they enjoyed Morris Gleitzman's Once Series or P.J. Palacio's Wonder.
P.S some adults don't like to get this book for their 'boy' readers because of the girl protagonist but like most great books this should not deter anyone from picking up this book as I have found it to be universally popular.