Review

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Published: May 15th, 2012
by Disney Hyperion

four-stars

GoodreadsPurchase



Summary:

 October 11, 1943

A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Review:

Kiss me Hardy!

The raving for Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity is extensive – and not without reason. Within this book, Wein manages to create not only a historical fiction novel, but a complex and haunting novel about friendship, sacrifice, and bravery. While it is definitely a hit-0r-miss novel, the ones who are able to enjoy it will be left with haunted dreams about two brave young women named Maddie and Verity.

The story is simple – it’s World War Two, and best friends Maddie and Verity are Allied spies. But when they crash in France, Maddie is able to escape, while Verity is captured by the Nazis. Her interrogators give her a choice: reveal everything about her mission, or face a gruesome execution. But will trading secrets with the enemy be enough to save her?

Maddie and Verity’s story is not an easy read. For one, the first two hundred pages are filled with insufficient and sometimes a bit boring details about planes and other warfare details to the point where I myself was seriously contemplating not finishing; but at page two hundred it undertakes a remarkable transformation and turns into an entirely different story altogether – one about sacrifice and friendship – that left me on my toes.

Yet, it is the characterization in Wein’s novel that makes it truly shine above all else. Her characters are some of the best I have had the pleasure of reading. Maddie and Verity’s fears and passions jumped out at me from the book, making me feel as if I was reading a real diary instead of a fictional account.

It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

Maddie and Verity’s friendship was, without a doubt, my favorite part of the story. They’re so different – Maddie loves flying planes, but Verity’s terrified of heights; Maddie grew up in the London countryside, an ordinary middle-class citizen, where as Verity grew up in Scotland, and was provided with everything a girl could have wanted. Yet, despite their differences, the strength and power of their friendship just touched my heart – and it made sense to me.

Usually, when we think about World War 2, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the Holocaust, the battles in Europe, the pain and misery it caused. But we never really think about the people who – behind the scenes – constantly risked their lives. What about the women pilots during WWII? The spies? What about ordinary civilians who wanted nothing to do with the war? How did their lives change?

All in all, a powerful recounting of some of the things that matter most. I have no doubt that Verity and Maddie’s story will become a classic to sit alongside The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

four-stars

12 thoughts on “Code Name Verity

    1. Thanks Angel! I’ll be on the lookout for your review! I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did! (I will warn you…it’s kind of hard to get into, but once you’re in, you’ll love it!)

  1. This took me a while to get into too, and I agree that the writing takes some getting used to, but I absolutely loved it in the end. I think Rose Under Fire is just as incredible, if not more. I’m so glad it worked for you, Zoe! Lovely review. 🙂

    1. Yeah…I think that was the biggest flaw – if not the only flaw – I found in this book. But I’m glad we both were able to enjoy it in the end! I got Rose Under Fire (and Siege & Storm) from the library yesterday, so I can’t wait to begin both of them!

      Thanks Sam! <3

  2. Oh gosh! I’m reading this right now! Er, well, I’m listening to it. I think the fact that I’m listening to it is doing a lot (I think I suffer, sometimes, of eyes to brain disconnect…so something with such complex details like this makes a LOT more sense to me via audio XD) I started reading it a while ago, but didn’t get past the first chapter. The library wanted it back and…meh. I’m loving it now. TOTALLY CREEPED OUT THOUGH. I can’t believe how excellently written Verity is. Unbelievable. I’m a bit miffed at why we’re seeing everything from Maddie’s perspective. I like Verity better. But I’m absolutely astounded at how talented the writer is. Er….I’m up to, like, chapter 16. Still a bit of a ways to go. 😉

    1. Darn it…now that you’ve mentioned it, I realize that it would have been SO MUCH better if I’d listened to the audiobook like you – then the whole “too descriptive details” thing in the first half of the book wouldn’t have probably bothered me as much! I’m SO glad you’re liking it so far…I definitely agree that it’s creeptastic; but I’ll warn you it gets even SCARIER in the second half of the book!

      Isn’t Elizabeth Wein just the best?!?! 😉

      And to answer your question about the perspective the book is written in, you’ll just have to wait and see! (The answer is revealed in like Chapter 20 or so, so you’re almost there!)

      I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review!

  3. Oh man! You got me so freaking excited to read this book and I just don’t have the freaking time right now! #Ugh!

    I expected this book to be good, but the way you described it makes me all kinds of eager to read it… I am trying very very hard not to dump my homework assignments and the books that I have to review and pick up this book!

    Great review!

    1. Thanks Iris! <3 Oohh...so glad that it sounds like something you'd like! Hopefully you can find the time to read it - especially if it sounds "up your alley!" Let me know when / if you decide to start it!

  4. I agree totally with this review and enjoyed the captions other than the Hunger Games one because I was like a secrecy handshake to them it’s special. Lived this book. You should do a review on Rose Under Fire

Leave a Reply