Code Name Verity - YA Review by Ellen P

Reader: Ellen P.
Age: 16
Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Pub Date: 05/05/12
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Friendship, spies, female pilots, WWII. Wowza. This book is incredible, and incredibly hard to review. You see, the plot is best kept a secret for the reader, so I shall do my best. Verity is captured by Nazis in occupied France. She is sentenced to write out her country's secrets before death (not a spoiler), but instead creates a narrative detailing her friendship with a pilot, Maddie, and how she came to be in her situation. The character voice both when Verity is writing and in her descriptions of her situation comes through very strongly and keeps you guessing throughout the novel. The humor is dark and sometimes seems inappropriate to the situation. Overall the writing is excellent and pulls off an ambitious idea very well.
Memorable or Forgettable: First off, despite the previously mentioned humor, this is not a feel good novel. It is about Nazis. Who did awful horrible things, many of which were referenced in this book. It is shocking and it hurts, but the emotional impact of this book makes it very memorable. It shows a different side of WWII, and Wein backs up the story with extensive research. I appreciated the effort put into making Verity's story realistic, and also the "further reading" in the back of the book was nice. The friendship between Maddie and Verity is also unusual, as there is no mentioned romance but it is left open to interpretation. No matter how you see their relationship, Wein does a great job of showing a beautiful and close friendship between two young women which is rare.
Cover: I received this book as a gift that was highly recommended by people I trust. Had I been judging it by the cover, I absolutely would not have picked it up off a shelf because the cover didn't stand out in any way and seemed cliched.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments: Just go get this book. You won't be sorry. The dark themes may not be appropriate for younger readers.

tags:  historical fiction / World War II / espionage / suspense / ya lit

No comments: