Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein



Title and Author: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Publisher: Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: May 15, 2012

Pages: 343

Source: Library book, hardcover

Kid-rating: I would love for my boys to read this. I would hope that they could get around the fact that the main characters are girls. Actually, I think it would be good for them to read it BECAUSE they main characters are girls.

Star Rating: 5 stars


(from GoodReads)

Oct. 11th, 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 and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

My review

I resisted this one a bit: sometimes I’m a bit leery of books that have a lot of “this is the best book ever” reviews attached to them. Also, it’s set in WWII, and I didn’t think I’d be all that interested in books from that era.

I’m so glad I grabbed this at the library because it was so good. Well-written, gripping, unusual, funny, sad, exciting, and yes, a bit of a tearjerker, although my tears didn’t come right away. I was standing in the shower after finishing it and just started to bawl.

The twists are well done, and now that I know how it turns out, I should probably go back and reread to pick up on everything I missed the first time through, because I think it was all there, I just didn’t know what I was looking at.

As I mentioned above the in the kid-rating: I would definitely hand this to my 13 year old boys. I grew up under the impression that I could do or be anything I wanted: that anyone, girl or boy, could be or do whatever they wanted. I hope I am passing that lesson on to my boys, but some days I despair. I think that’s pretty common for mother’s of teenage boys, though. It’s a little bit discouraging, though, to read about women (girls, really) in World War II, and the things they did because they had to, to know that despite proving themselves THEN, we still haven’t quite got all of this figured out.

Being equal does not mean being the same, or that women having the kind of respect they deserve means that men should have less respect. We are all people, we’re all on this journey together and we’d better start getting over ourselves.

I’ll hop back down off my soap box, and wrap up the review of the actual book to say that it is truly a wonderful book, well-deserving of the hype and accolades it is receiving. I would say it is one of the best books I’ve read this year, for sure.