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“Fighting Words” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

--Staff Picks Kids

Fighting Words

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Published: 2020
Age Range: 4th Grade and Up
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Awards: Nerdy Book Club Award, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade and Children’s, 2020

Amanda read Fighting Words and this is what she thought…

Della, and her older sister Suki, escape an abusive living situation and end up in a foster home. They learn that there are adults in the world they can trust, and that they deserve to be happy children in a loving home. I loved The War That Saved My Life, and The War I Finally Won, both of which were written by this author. I had high hopes that this book would be just as good, and it did not disappoint. Oh man. You feel all the emotions reading Fighting Words. The book deals with some very heavy topics, but it is told through a 10 year old’s perspective. You feel sad, but you also feel happy. It ends up being a nice balance of emotions – enough light to balance out the dark.

My favorite character is Della. She is funny, sassy, and swears a lot (ok well she says “snow” in the book, but it’s still pretty funny). Her character had a lot to figure out, about both herself and life in general, and it was nice to go on that journey with her. It is kind of hard to pinpoint a main theme without it sounding really dark. It deals with child abuse, suicide, depression, and a lot of other heavy topics, but through all of that it is about learning to trust and feel safe. It’s about finding happiness and strength even in very dark times. I think the major way it is achieved is through character development. Honestly, you feel like you are there watching the characters’ lives with your own eyes. You can see the growth in both Della and Suki.

Who would you recommend this book to?

This book is great for anyone who feels they can handle the topics dealt with. While it is heavy, being told through a child’s perspective lightens it up a bit. It is a good choice for fans of realistic fiction.

Final thoughts: Read it. That is all.