Code Name Verity (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))

Elizabeth Wein
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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-03-07
This is the second World War II book I've read in the past week, the first being The Book Thief. I hesitate to compare the two- the subject matter is not that similar, except the setting- but I found Code Name Verity much more well done.

The capacity of humans to be so cruel to fellow humans always astounds me. In the past, in the present, and, I'm sure, in the future, there are and will be stories which will stretch my ability to comprehend how somebody could behave towards another person, or group of people. One of the most compelling facets of Code Name Verity is that while the story itself is fiction, you know (because we all know what a tragedy and horror World War II was), you just know that something like it could have happened.

And in the face of that tragedy, you also see examples of amazing bravery and resistance to the evil. And again, while it is fiction, you know that there were brave, everyday people such as ourselves, who acted out in a variety of ways to defy the Nazis. Books with stories such as these always make me turn a mirror back on myself and I wonder if I could ever be as courageous. This, in my opinion, is what makes a good story a great book.

Code Name Verity had parts where I laughed out loud, where I was scared, where I was astonished, and where I was sad. If you're looking for a light and fluffy book, this is not going to be what you want. But if you're looking for something that will make you think, this is it. I'm of the school of thought that we should never, ever forget the atrocities of our collective human history, lest we repeat them. And if stories such as these make them more real to people, make them contemplate the fact that awful things happened to good people, then it is worth the read.
Reviewed: 2017-12-07
Initial Impressions:Full review to come later, but OH MY HEART. I rarely read historical fiction but this was a sensational piece of work that I think everyone needs to read.

Review originally posted on The Book Addict's Guide: The mysteries and surprises are some of the best part of this book so I PROMISE not to include any spoilers. Like most of my books, I went in blind, with only the knowledge that this took place during WWII and it made the book so much better!

Usually, historical fiction is not my thing. I was never a big history buff and I frequently get bogged down in names, dates, and events. Embarrassingly so, I don’t know a lot about history because I was never interested and that usually hinders me from liking books that take place in a historical setting, but CODE NAME VERITY is anything but boring. It did have a bit of a slow start, but quickly picked up as you get pulled into the narrator’s current situation (her identity is revealed not too far into the book, but as I didn’t see it coming, I’m certainly not going to tell you!) and how her story of Maddie the pilot all fits into the big picture.

CODE NAME VERITY is not an easy read in more than one way. First: it’s WWII we’re talking about here. There are some gruesome details as far as torture and deaths go and my God, it’s like you get to know these characters. Their stories are absolutely heartbreaking. Second: The content is so heavy that I literally could not breeze through it – Of course, it wasn’t my goal to breeze through, but this is a book you really need to take your time with. Sit down, relax, and close yourself off to the world as you get lost in this plot. The further you are in it, the sadder it is, but it makes for such a more emotionally-invested experience. Third: ALL THE CAPSLOCK. These are first hand accounts of what these girls witnessed during the war and their personal diaries and journals. Every single emotion is exposed on the pages of this book and I really felt like these were real people. It was really hard to read the awful things that these girls went through and my heart and soul went into reading this book.

As with any good spy book, there are TWISTS, and oh the glory of them! Quite a few things that I didn’t see coming (don’t try to search for them – It’s better if you’re surprised) and it just made the whole book that much more interesting. I didn’t know until after it happened exactly how much sense it made. It’s one of my favorite things for a twist to be revealed and then think back on every incidence in which I missed its presence. It’s quite an astonishing thing!

I don’t know what more I can say except that I think everyone should read this amazing story. I don’t know if teachers have incorporated this in their English classes, but I think they should. It’s far better than anything I ever read in school and with historical and literary aspects combined into one amazing book, I think anyone from teenagers to adults should be reading this. I’m so glad Forever YA picked this as their January read or else I might not have picked it up!
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