Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publication: May 15, 2012
Summary 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, 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.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: Normally, I am not a historical fiction reader, but when a book blogger who basically has the same favorites as me recommends a book, I give it a shot.
I can’t tell you about much because it will give things away, but I will tell you I read this book in under 24 hours – which translates to “I think you should read it”. It’s the type of book that I think will be even more powerful the second time you read it. I also suggest that you avoid reading reviews because most likely something will be spoiled, but since I can’t help but review the book and do my best to avoid spoiling it, here goes…
The perspective was unique, it’s a writing style that I haven’t experienced before and I liked it. While this is a fictional story with fictional characters, it feels like it could have been real and it feels like it could have actually happened. The book feels well researched. The first half of the book took a bit of pushing myself to get through but around the 75% mark I was so happy to have persevered.
There were a few things that bugged me while reading this book, first of all there was a lot of technical-ish talk and details the stalled the plot a bit. Some of the storytelling lacked finesse – bits and pieces thrown in, choppy-ness, telling more than showing – but I think this was purposeful because of the situation the person is in. I also felt like there was a lot of nothing, again, it seemed purposeful. The friendship is a crucial part of this story and I wish there was more in the development of the friendship.
BUT, it’s a captivating story. You can’t help but become invested in the two main characters. It’s suspenseful – you will be wondering how much of what she says is true and you will wonder who is working for what side and you will guess and then change your mind several times – it’s really cleverly done. Pay attention while you read, there are so many intricate details that tie together beautifully (and to be totally honest I probably missed some and will have a greater appreciation the second time I read this book).
The ending will crush you, literally I thought my heart was ripped out for a few minutes to collect my thoughts and process what had happened. This powerful scene definitely boosted the star rating for me, because this book sticks with you, it almost haunts you with “KISS ME HARDY! Kiss me QUICK!”