Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Format/Length: Hardback/343 pages
Publisher/Date Published: 15th 2012/Disney-Hyperion
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction
Description: 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, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.
4/5 stars —
This was not an easy book for me to read.
I’m going to say that right off the bat, because for me, that was how I felt about this book. I enjoyed this one immensely, but it was not easy for me to read. Not at all. This was because of a few reasons, actually — and not just because it was emotionally draining and heartbreakingly devastating.
I considered giving this book only three stars. And maybe I am being a little generous by stretching it to four stars, but this book is truly a piece of art, and I wouldn’t feel right giving it only three. Because, overall, it was fantastic, but I did have a few minor qualms about it.
The beginning was confusing. And rather boring.
If you’ve read the novel, you’ll understand my confusion when it came to actually who was narrating the novel (which is eventually revealed; I think that I was just impatient.) But for quite a while all I wanted was answers and I just didn’t seem to be getting them. This changed, though, and from thereon out, I could follow the story much more easily. And well, when I say that I thought quite a bit of this was boring… I mean it. There were times where I wish the story would just move a lot quicker, because for parts of it the pace was as slow as a snail. In hindsight though, this set up and slowness was needed — but for a good quarter or so of the novel it made for a dull read.
This novel felt authentic.
I should point out, though, that as I am not a fan of history, I probably wouldn’t pick up if the novel wasn’t authentic. But the detail, detail, detail, the author poured into this novel made it come alive. Research and/or personal experience was evident in the way the novel was written, the dialogue, and just the story in general. Okay, so this might have been a double-edged knife for me: A lot of the details/historic reference went right over the top of my head. Therefore sometimes it was slightly hard to keep up with the story, and I’d say this was why it came across a little boring for me.
This is a novel about friendship, and bravery, and war.
If I had to sum up this novel in three words, friendship, bravery, and war would undoubtedly be the ones I would chose. There should be more books like this in YA that centre around friendship. Really, I think there should. The main aspect to this novel (save from war) was definitely friendship, and I loved reading about it. The strong friendship the author crafted between Verity (let’s just call her that) and Maddie was beautifully done, and had me in tears by . . . Well, if you’ve read the novel, you’ll know the scene I’m referring to.
I mean, gosh, I’m tearing up just writing about it!
Code Name Verity is not a book for everyone. You’re either going to like it or you’re not. But there’s one thing I can promise: Code Name Verity is going to break your heart.