Book #something – Code Name Verity

CNV cover rainbowI haven’t updated the list on this website in a week or two, so although I’ve finished CNV, I haven’t figured out what number it will be when I eventually write it down.

However! I enjoyed it so much that I had to come here and write about it, and I just couldn’t wait until I got home and checked what number it should be.

So! Here we go!

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

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.

I LOVED this book. I’ve seen it recommended in lots of ‘Best YA fiction’ lists and always meant to get around to reading it, but didn’t manage it until now. I regret waiting so long to have read it.
It’s the third (I think) historical fiction book I’ve read this year which is set in the WWII era (the first two being The Spring of Kasper Meier and The Book Thief) but it sits leagues ahead of either of them.

The book is written as Verity, a British prisoner, confesses her story to the Gestapo in a hotel in the French city of Ormaie – as she writes her story on any scrap of paper she’s given she paints a picture of the friendship she built with her pilot and best friend, Maddie, how two women ended up flying over Nazi-occupied France and the events that led to her capture.
As the story progresses, you begin to realise that perhaps Verity is not so reliable a narrator as one might have thought in the beginning – something which only adds to the story.

Somewhat unusually for a YA book, there is no romantic sub-plot whatsoever, but that didn’t detract from the book at all – it’s a beautiful and lyrical description of female friendship, the horrors of wartime and the love which exists between two girls and expands to encompass those around them.

I don’t have very much to say about this book, other than that I loved it. It’s brilliant, beautifully written, heart-wrenching, exciting, and highly, highly recommended.
It is, I think, the first and only five-star review I’ve given to a new read this year (Nix’s Old Kingdom trilogy gets five stars, but I decided that years ago) and if you only read one book reviewed on this blog, this should be it. A straight shoot into my favourites and as glowing a review as I can give a book. I now need to find the companion novel, Rose Under Fire, and find as much of Wein’s back catalogue as I possibly can.

Five Stars



Filed under Books

5 responses to “Book #something – Code Name Verity

  1. Pingback: Book #152 – Rose Under Fire | Much Ado About Books

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  4. Pingback: YALC – one week to go! | Much Ado About Books

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