Friday, November 2, 2012

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

Summary:  Oct. 11, 1943
A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France.  
It's pilot and passenger are best friends. 
One of the girls has a shot as 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.

They'll get the truth out of her.  But it won't be what they expect.  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 a merciless and ruthless enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Code Name Verity is the story of an unforgettable friendship forged in the face of the ultimate evil.  (Summary from book - Image from

My Review:  A book blogging friend of mine recommended Code Name Verity as one of her favorite books this year -- fairly fairly high praise coming from her -- and I reserved a copy from our local library immediately.  While we haven't always been on the same page about books, I was willing to risk it and I'm glad I did.  Or at least I was glad...eventually.

The first third of the book was hard to read.  Besides the difficult subject matter (torture, the mechanics of aviation, etc.), I kept getting yanked out of the story by the various cute little reasons that run around my house and I had trouble connecting with Verity.   I wanted to be in  the book with her and I just wasn't.  Not entirely.  Still, I am nothing if not observant and I had a pretty good sense that the author had a gigantic Ace up her sleeve.  As soon as she played it I was completely hooked.  Everything I thought I knew and understood got flipped on its head; I locked myself in the bedroom the second my husband got home from work and didn't emerge till I had devoured the rest of the book.  Om nom nom.

Code Name Verity weaves an intricate tale of espionage and a fiercely loyal friendship tested during the most horrific circumstances.  If I could pick one word to describe it, it would be powerful.  Reading this book wasn't all sunshine and roses, so don't pick it up expecting happily-ever-after.  Code Name Verity knocked the wind out of me and tore out my heart.  And you know what?  I was okay with it.

My Rating: 4.25 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Some references to torture and violence, but not as much as you would expect in a book that centers around war.  A fair amount of profanity, especially for a YA novel.  However, I'd have probably mocked a book where people said "freak," "darn it," and "jerk" when they were being tortured.  Read at your own risk.

Sum it up:  A haunting tale of loyalty, love, and lies, told in a frightening landscape.


Laura said...

Very informative and an exceptional review like always. Was apprehensive about reading this until a review of yours came up with the very same book i was about to buy. Now i have an idea what is about and have a feeling i'm going to love it. Thank you!

MindySue said...

Eeeep! No pressure, right?! I hope you do!

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

You. Da. Bomb.
Agree...beginning a little difficult to follow...but talk about a punch in the gut! Makes me want to read it all over again!

MindySue said...

Why thank you. :D

Susan @ Reading World said...

This is an amazing book. I approached it warily because the reviews are so good I was afraid of being let down. And the narrative is a little tricky-- what is going on? But it drew me in and then wow!


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