Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity Series
Published: May 15th, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
About a third of the way through this book, I tweeted that I knew this book was going to punch me in the heart. It’s one of those books that you know is going to hurt, but you just don’t know how much. It was absolutely stunning and had me in tears several times.The summary of Code Name Verity from Goodreads:
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.
What I Liked:
The book is about friendship, courage, and always moving forward. Verity faces her torture with a certain grace that had me crying. She knows what her likely future is. She knows that the Gestapo is only going to keep her as long as she’s useful. She knows how dire her situation is, and yet her bravery shines through.
Every page of her story shows how she changed from the person who befriended Maddie into the person facing the Gestapo and giving them a fight. She’s supposed to write everything she knows about her mission and the British forces, but she weaves it into a story about her friendship with Maddie.
She knows what her future is going to be, but she makes sure she tells her story and goes down fighting as long as she can. She doesn’t fight like the other prisoners who refuse to share secrets and end up tortured and dead, unable to tell their story. Instead, she gives in to their demands, still deals with torture, but she gets paper to write her story. She gets to have a voice.
Aside from the setting of Verity’s story-writing, the story of her friendship with Maddie is beautiful. They are completely different girls, with different lifestyles, goals, and backgrounds. If not for the war, they likely wouldn’t have met and become friends.
Something, to me, that demonstrates their friendship through time is their use of fears. There’s a moment, early on in their friendship, when they talk about their “top ten” fears. They are clearly things children fear. They deal with things that make the heart race and make you want to leave a situation.
Later on, their fears have evolved. Yes, they each still have a few of those childish fears left, but they are learning that the real things they fear go deeper, mean more. There’s more to fear than just having a racing heart.
There are several moments when I felt my heart drop, when tears sprang to my eyes. I felt sick and uncomfortable. I wanted to stop reading because it just hurt my heart. I did stop, at times. It would become too much and I’d have to set the book aside for a while to calm down.
But every second of that pain, every tear was completely worth it. I know this book isn’t going to be for everyone. It has a slower pace and it isn’t constantly being driven forward by action. It’s just not.
It feels strange to say I fell in love with a book like this. Because this isn’t a book you love. It’s a book that grabs you and weaves its way into your heart and mind, carving a place out for it to sit. It was absolutely amazing and breathtaking.
I Didn’t Like:
I’d Recommend To:
Obviously, if you like historical fiction and having your heart pulled apart, read it. This is a book about friendship, courage, and bravery. It’s tough to read, but well worth it, in my opinion.
You can purchase Code Name Verity here: