Code Name Verity - a Book Review

February 13, 2017

Code name verity book review
One of my goals for 2017 is to try to read 40 books. In order to help me keep track of the number of books I read this year I thought I might write reviews as I go. Hopefully these will introduce you to a book or two you'd like to read, or it might even prompt you to recommend one you've read and enjoyed to me. Code Name Verity was the first book I started after January 1, 2017.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein was released back in 2012, and to be completely honest I’d never heard of it before I stumbled across it while perusing the A Mighty Girl book list. I’m a bit of a fan of fiction set during the Second World War, but this one is different than many of the ones I’ve read before as the main characters are female and they’re right in the middle of the action. Needless to say this was quickly added to my hold list at the library.

When this book became available I couldn’t wait to get started. The story centers on two unlikely best friends – a working-class girl from outside Manchester and a Scottish Aristocrat, who despite their completely different backgrounds complement each other perfectly. The first part of the book is written from the perspective of a spy captured and held by the Gestapo. It’s a diary of sorts – the confession the spy writes to delay further torture, and what she anticipates will be her eventual execution. The spy tells of the friendship between Maddie, a pilot, and Julie, a special operations executive.

To be honest I had trouble getting into this book for the first little while – I found it slow going. The narrator focused a lot on Maddie’s story – detailing planes and airfields and other operational aspects of the war. This focus makes sense given it the information that would be most desired by the Gestapo about the war-time operations of their enemies, but I truly only wanted to read more about the friendship between the two young women, and frankly I also didn’t like the narrator’s character – a spy willing to confess to the enemy in order to save their own skin. To be honest I was a bit tempted to put the book down, but I persevered and I’m so very glad that I did.

I won’t go into the second part of the book as it would give away some key points of the story (and some major plot-twists), but I will say that Code Name Verity turned out to be a fabulous book and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s classed as Young Adult fiction, but it’s a truly great read for adults (and frankly some of the book might be a bit graphic for young teens).

So tell me - have you read it? If so, what did you think? Have any similar books you can recommend?

Code Named Verity Book cover
Book Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth E. Wein
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Pages: 352
My Rating: 5 Stars
Buy the Book:
Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors. From the Hardcover edition.

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