Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein
published: Hyperion, 2013 (originally 2012)
pages: 339

 When a British spy plane crashes in Nazi occupied France, two women (and best friends) are left to fend for themselves.  Only one has a chance at survival; one has been captured by the Gestapo and has been given the choice: reveal her plan or face execution.  She's been given as much paper as necessary to write down her confession and any pertinent information about the British war front.  With each word she writes, she discovers more about herself and her best friend Maddie.  Will the information she gives be enough to save her from the enemy?

Holy crap this book through me for a loop.   It was so cleverly written and masterfully deceitful I couldn't always tell what was fact and what was fiction.   It is a beautiful tale of friendship, war, tragedy, and sacrifice.  The writing was simply amazing!

I loved that there were two strong well rounded female characters telling the story.  Not often do you get a WWII novel where the main characters are women fighting in the war.  Juliet and Maddie are very different but they complemented each other incredibly well and gave a compelling documentation of what was happening.  They felt incredibly real, like I had just met and become friends with them.  They quite literally jumped off the page.

Usually when there are multiple voices telling the story, they alternate in some fashion, but this book was segmented.  The first half, one girl and the second half, the other.  I'd never read a book organized like this before and I was pleased that it didn't throw me off like I thought it would.  I got used to one voice, but because of the nature of the book, it felt like we already knew the other voice before she became the main storyteller.

Elizabeth Wein has created a novel that rivals that of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.  Both story of WWII and both compelling and completely engrossing.  Code Name Verity is an excellent read.  I cannot wait to pick up more of Wein's work.

Stars: 4/5 


"A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"This book is written in a brilliant way.... Elizabeth Wein makes it always be believable and realistic as it is from the point of view of a young woman.... Everyone should read this incredible and heart wrenching story of two girls."
     --The Guardian (UK)

"Between this and her follow-up, Rose Under Fire, Wein is revealing herself to be a new master of young adult historical fiction....Filled with twists and turns, Code Name Verity is not for the faint of heart."
     --Rolling Stone

An Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015 Book. 
A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 Book.
The 2015 TBR Pile Challenge Book
An Alphabet Soup Challenge Book.

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