Code Name Verity
By: Elizabeth E. Wein
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub Date: May 15th, 2012
Rating: PG-13 for scenes of torture
Coffee Beans: 5/5
Spoilers: No way, José!
Favorite Line: "It was cozy in perhaps the way you'd be cozy in hell." (ebook, pg 62)& "It's like being in love, discovering your best friend." (ebook, pg 80) & "And that I don't believe in God but if I did, if I did, It would be the God of Moses, angry and demanding and OUT FOR REVENGE,and…"(ebook, pg 318)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review
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.
I really hate Microsoft Word. It randomly "stopped responding" and erased everything I wrote about this book. I'm going through breathing techniques right now, trying to resist the impulse I have to throw this computer through the back yard and into the sprinklers right now.)Let's try this again, shall we?
There's not much I can say about this book without giving away the plot—which I don't want to do. This book is about the strength and love shared between best friends. About people banding together, risking everything to fight for strangers because they believe that they deserve more than what they have. It's about the deep, deep hollow that's created in one's soul at the pain someone they love is suffering through.
My throat tightened, my heart ached, my fingers kept turning pages. And at the very last page, I mourned the losses and I cherished the victories and I had hope for the lives of those who survived.
This is a fictional story, but the events that happened—the war, the Holocaust, the killing, the torture, the loss of so much—that is what I mourned at the last page of the book. Because in the end, what happened between these covers is only one of a million stories or possibilities of what some of our grandparents, parents, great-grandparents lived through. And like Wein's very last words: LEST WE FORGET.
Now, on to a more specific review. I'm not a fan of historical fiction, normally, but I decided to give this one a go (mostly because I was in an ARC requesting frenzy), and I'm so glad I did. I'm also pleased as punch that I'm reading so many good authors, as of late. Elizabeth is one of them. She is, in one word, brilliant. The story she wrote is astounding in its complexity. But you don't realize it until the last third of the book. And here's why:
The last third is told from someone else's point of view.
I'll admit, at first this really threw me for a loop. I didn't like it. I thought it was dumb. Why the heck do I want (excuse me while I obsessively save my work in Word, lest we have another melt down), why the heck do I want to read this story from another pov? I like the one I'm in (she's funny and snarky and very specifically random). And to be honest, I don't like the new voice. At first. Then I fell in love.
Both parts of the narrative are distinctly different, but neither is whole without the other. You start to pick up on clues with what the first girl had to say and how it plays into what's said in the second part. Then you start to think about the brains Wein has to construct both parts to make them independent but then a terrific mind puzzle when they're together. So brilliant.
I won't say anymore, sorry for the abrupt ending, but I don't want to risk saying anything that would ruin the story. Please, I implore you, if this book sounds even remotely interesting to you, pick it up and read it. And share it with others. It's that good.
Happy reading, my friends!
A Note on the Cover: There are two. My ARC had the two hands tied together, which is an odd cover for the type of book it is, the scene it refers to, I think was not entirely the best choice. Although it's artistically stark, I think I might slightly prefer the second cover, although, I think the girl is supposed to be Queenie on the cover, but Queenie has straw blond hair so they got it wrong. I doubt it's supposed to be Maddie. Anywho, which cover do you like better?