Code Name Verity
October 11, 1943A 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?
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.