Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Hyperion
2012

YA, historical fiction

A female spy (code name: Verity) during World War II is captured in France and held, interrogated, and tortured in a hotel-turned-prison. The first part of the book is her written confession of how she came to be falling out of a British spy plane in Nazi-occupied France. She says she is a turn-coat coward, giving codes her Nazi interrogators. I guess I just had a hard time liking her at first. The second part of the book is told from the point-of-view of Verity’s best friend, Maddie (code name: Kittyhawk). We pick up from the point where their plane crashed and Verity had to jump. Maddie spends weeks looking for her and we slowly begin to see overlaps in their story and several truths are revealed. We are then reminded that the first part was Verity’s written “confession” and not actually her POV at all. They were simply words she was writing. A whole other level of her story, and more importantly, her rebellion and determination are revealed which dramatically changed how I felt about Verity.

What started out to be what I thought was a slow read, I had a mind-blown moment when everything came together. I thought I had made the mistake of listening to it on audio. There were several names and abbreviations that didn’t make sense to me that I thought might have been better to physically read. It turns out that all of those get explained during Maddie’s POV. There is also a brief part where we bounce back-and-forth from Verity to Maddie POV that was well done on audio.

I don’t usually put too much stock into people saying it is a book you will need to read twice (I think my threshold for that is pretty high), but this one definitely is. I want to go back and find the clues I didn’t even realize I was missing.

I fear that the slow beginning might have lost some readers. I remember reading some reviews saying as much, thinking it was just a book about friendship. While it is a rare YA book without romantic entanglement that really focuses on the friendship and love between two women, sticking with it until the end gives it a much deeper, more important meaning.

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