Monday, October 1, 2012

Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

Read: July 9-16, 2012
Published: May 15, 2012, Hyperion 
Source: Library book (future purchase)
Category: YA - Historical Fiction

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

Code Name Verity is the story of Maddie and Verity, a pilot and a wireless operator from Britain. On a mission to France, their plane goes down. One of the girls is captured by the Nazis. The other's status is unknown. What were they doing there? And will they survive?  

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


What shines most in this story is the friendship between Maddie and Verity. It is a strong positive relationship set in a terrible time in history. The girls are two very different people, both because of the classes they were born into, and in their personalities. In fact, they probably would never have met without the war. But what they become together is astounding. I love books about pockets of brilliant light in a dark time. When goodness comes out of extreme circumstances. Maddie and Verity are that light, and they are strongest together. 

Not only is the storytelling excellent and the plot engaging, but it is clear that Code Name Verity was thoroughly researched. I felt like I learned something about what it would have been like to be involved in the British war effort. For me, the more authentic the story feels, the more real it becomes. I became very emotionally involved in Verity and Maddie's lives, partly because they felt possible. Like, this could have happened.  

It's best to go into Code Name Verity without a lot of information, which is why I've tried to not say much about the story. The book does start of a bit slowly and is confusing at first, but it quickly became a story that I couldn't get away from. I'm still thinking about it, especially whether or not I could have done what the characters did. Would I have made the same choices as them?

Code Name Verity is one of those stories that feels like it should be important to read. I foresee it as being a future classic. READ IT NOW!

Love Triangle Factor: N/A - There isn't really a romance, only the possibility of one - or maybe there is and it's just subtle. But as I said in my six degrees, there is a kilt wearing Scot who is not to be missed. 

Rating: 5 stars

14 comments:

  1. Loved this so much, too! Elizabeth W. is a fantastic researcher. I asked her whether she was obsessed enough with accuracy that the moon data (phase, time of day) were correct, and of course they were!

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    1. Wow. Those are the kind of details that I would have never thought about, but I love hearing that they are accurate as well. I thought the whole story about the everlasting pen was pretty cool too.

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  2. Oustanding review! Love this line:

    "I love books about pockets of brilliant light in a dark time."

    Me too! This book was such a beautiful study of friendship. And I love how much I learned while reading. Women's role during the war, codes, and even airplanes! I read a wonderful author guest post at Daisy Chain Reviews before reading the book. Here's the link if you are interested:

    http://daisychainbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/02/blog-tour-author-elizabeth-wein-on-real.html

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    1. That is so cool, Heather! Thanks for that link. I had not seen it. And I love that the focus of this story was a positive friendship between two girls - so few stories highlight those. Although Maddie and Verity spend almost all of their time apart during the actual run of the story, their actions speak so strongly.

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  3. Yayy! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Lauren! It started out rather slow for me, but I grew to love it. As you mentioned, I felt as if the bond between Verity and Maddie simply jumped off the page and wrapped itself around you, making you a part of their strong friendship. It was simply so beautifully written and I fell in love with the writing style and all the plot twists at the end too. Plus, I cried. A lot. I'm not even ashamed to admit it. ;) Fantastic review, dear! :D

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    1. Thanks! And I cried as well! It was a very moving story. As I mentioned to Heather, books based on strong female friendships are not common in YA, especially without the added complication of boys (at least I can't think of many). I also loved watching their relationship develop. And how their fears changed throughout the book as well. That's not something I mentioned, but watching what they feared in the beginning change in the end was also something that really struck me.

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  4. Yes too ALL OF THIS. I loved that this book was about an improbable friendship, and as such, it was one of the most beautiful stories of friendship I've ever encountered. And YES, I loved feeling like I got to know the British war effort more through its pages. I love seeing people dive into this book not knowing where it's going to take them and coming out ready to put it into someone else's hands and just trust them to read it. Love it!

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    1. Yes to everything you said as well. It's so much fun to feel like you've discovered a book and want to pass it on! Some books are better not knowing what to expect. And it's so rare to read a book solely based on a positive friendship, without boys etc. getting in the way.

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  5. Oh goodness that quote about love and friendship - makes me want to cry.

    I know that I want to read this book. But after hearing such positive remarks so many times from Elizabeth Fama, I know that I will love it. I trust her opinion - and yours - and she really really loves this one.

    Honestly, I know almost nothing about this book. I'll keep it that way since you suggest that is a good way to go into it. :)

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    1. You will love this, Asheley! I bet your girls will be reading it in high school. At least I hope it becomes a classic and required reading. There is so much beauty in this story - and I learned a lot too.

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  6. Planning on reading this in the next few weeks, so I'm really glad to see your review! I've heard mixed things, but I love historical fiction and your review just confirmed it for me - I'm about 99% sure I will love this. Great review! :)

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    1. I hope you do love this one! The historical aspect of it is so very accurate, but it's also a fantastic story. I'll have to look for your review. I followed you as well!

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  7. I'm so glad you loved this. It was one of my favorites of the year. I agree it's a slow start but it's so worth it!

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