Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity

Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Elizabeth E Wein

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  • Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
  • Format: Hardback | 343 pages
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 212mm x 34mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 15 May 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1423152190
  • ISBN 13: 9781423152194
  • Sales rank: 65,957

Product description

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.

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Author information

Elizabeth Wein (www.elizabethwein.com) was born in New York City, grew up abroad, and currently lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She is an avid flyer of small planes and is the editor of the Scottish Aero Club's newsletter. She also holds a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

Customer reviews

By Alenette 21 Jun 2013 5

I'll just be really honest here-I don't know what to write or say about Code Name Verity. I can't reveal too much of the plot. In the other hand, I have to write just enough for you to want to pick up this book. I'm afraid if I start writing about how I felt while and after reading this book, I might accidentally include unnecessary spoilers (and I guarantee that you will hate me for it, maybe). I'll write as much as I can and I shall try my best to not include any spoilers.

Code Name Verity is a story about two best friends, Queenie and Maddie. Although they are quite the opposite, Queenie being born from posh lineage, Maddie, a bike shop owner's granddaughter, that didn't stop them from becoming best friends while serving together in WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) and staying like that even when the war separates them. These two have very little in common, but deep down they are incredibly strong, intelligent, loyal, and compassionate women.

All Maddie ever wanted was to fly airplanes. When the war started, they didn't accept female pilots but soon enough, they did. Queenie is fluent in both German and French. She has the ability to able to fleetingly change into different roles. She can be herself one second and someone entirely different the next.

I admit that Maddie and Queenie are very unique and fascinating characters but the character that fascinates me the most is Queenie's capturer and interrogator, SS-Hauptsturmf�?�¼rer von Linden. I thought of him as a pure evil guy (even his name sounds scary) but as the story progresses, I learned a few about his life which changed the way I see him and which will cause the readers to be as confused as Queenie.

It was a bit confusing at the beginning because Queenie tells her present story in first person, but switches to third person and focuses on Maddie every time she talks about the past. It was a little strange at first, having the narrator talk about herself in third person, but soon enough, I realized that it was an exceptional way for the author to help her readers adapt to constant alternations between the past and the present.

The story starts off when Queenie gets captured by the Gestapo in France. Weeks passed and I think you can already guess what would happen to someone captured by the Gestapo-tortured. She made a deal with von Linden. He allows her to live for a few more weeks in exchange to writing down all the events that led her to him.

ver�?�·i�?�·ty
n. /`verit�?â??/
A true principle or belief, esp. one of fundamental importance; truth

Most people (myself included) don't know what verity means. I only knew what verity meant when 'they' asked her (Queenie) what the truth was-is. That's when everything started to make sense. Imagine a person reading a book. Imagine that that person doesn't know the real identity of the narrator is or what the book is really about until...half of the book or almost half. Code Name Verity is a strange book, in a good way. I didn't know or care whether it was the truth she was saying or if it was really her who says she is. I am very sure about one thing though; everyone-I mean every person-who has the ability to read must read this. Code Name Verity is one of those rare books; heart-breaking yet uplifting.

Code Name Verity is a remarkable work of fiction.

(I'm very sorry for not being apparent and for continuously switching tenses.)

I won a copy of this book from a giveaway hosted by Read My Breath Away. All my reviews are my honest and personal opinion and are not influenced by anyone in anyway.

By Linda 24 Jun 2012 5

Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/review-code-name-verity-by-elizabeth-wein/

I am not a fan of historical fiction. No, I've never particularly enjoyed the genre. I've always been a fantasy and sci fi girl through and through, but I decided to give Code Name Verity a chance for two reasons: (1) I thought it was about time that I tried something new and (2) this book was so hyped-up and I was curious.

Admittedly, I don't like hyped-up books. I always like rooting for the underdogs, so whenever I see a hyped-up book, I want to read it to prove everyone else wrong. I want to prove that another book--one of the underdogs--is better. Sometimes I do finish the book and think, "So-and-so book was better." And sometimes I finish the book and think, "I was wrong."

Code Name Verity was one of the latter.

The first few pages of this book were a bore. I was looking for an excuse to drop it, but I decided that I'd give it fifty pages before I'd start another book. The narrator--"Verity"--seemed to draw out her words, making her sentences much longer than they had to be. I had trouble deciphering her eloquent language, and I mostly skimmed over the tedious descriptions she provided.

Somewhere in those fifty pages, I realized that the writing was just her style.

Fifty pages along, I got too caught up in the plot to even think about her writing style.

Even though I have never been a fan of history (hey, this A+ student here is a whiz in math and science, all right?), World War II has always been such an interesting topic to me. War is just so horribly fascinating. Not the machinery and aircraft used, no. (I get bored to death, hearing about those.) No, it's the people. The spies. The interrogators. The pilots. The soldiers. They fascinate me, these people who are willing to lay down their lives for a cause they believe in. And the people in this book are just so plausible. They could be one of my friends. And they all have their faults and imperfections, but they also have their good aspects. I loved Verity and Maddie and Jamie. I loved how Verity always took offense when people called her English (she's Scottish), I loved the feeling Maddie had when she was in the air, I loved how understanding Jamie was. These people--HOW ARE THEY SO BELIEVABLE.

And the complexities in this novel! ELIZABETH WEIN, YOU ARE GENIUS. Surprises hitting me AT EVERY TURN, and clues being passed EVER SO SUBTLY. Just absolutely genius. I really wish I could say more on the subject, but there would be simply too many spoilers.

And perhaps the most important aspect: Verity and Maddie's relationship. I have a best friend, you see, who's been with me for eleven years of my life. (Considering that I'm only a teen, that's more than half my life.) And I get it. I really do. The knowing someone like the back of your hand, the emotions behind everything that you do. I get it. It's hard to explain--it really is--but Wein captures it so perfectly.

Code Name Verity was fabulous. It's more than a book about the hardships of war. It's a book about a bond so deep that death can't sever. The name of that bond? Friendship.

Source: ARC/galley received from publisher for review

By Brenna Staats 13 Jun 2012 4

I have to admit that I struggled with Code Name Verity at first; it was a slow read for me, one that I found difficult to get into but one that with an ending so powerful and unforgettable that it redeemed itself and made my experience completely turnaround!

Although this story is set in World War II, it's really a story about two girls who become best friends and what was most likely the period in their life that had the great impact on them. It's also written in journal format, which is something I've mentioned before that I never seem to take to well as a reader. But the story itself is a beautiful tale that leaves a mark on your heart.

Reasons to Read:

1.Lively, endearing characters:

Maddie and Queenie are two of the most incredible characters I have ever read about; their personalities literally jump off the pages, and they're just fantastic young women to read about. They're so realistic and familiar, that it's hard to believe that they're no more than fiction. Queenie, especially, was one character that I found totally endearing and striking. The choices she makes, the stories she tells... she's one character you WON'T forget soon. And Maddie is equally brave, in her own unique-Maddie way. Gah, I love these two so much!

2.An ending that'll make you go "WHAT?!":

Yeah, it' sone of THOSE endings. I mean, you kind of figure that you know what to expect... but it's still so heartbreaking and momentous and just THERE, and you really don't want it to happen. Yet, it's shocking all on its own. It's a good thing though, I mean, I loved it even though it made me tear up a bit too. It's a good book with feeling is what I'm trying to say, I suppose.

3.An interesing perspective of WW2:

And that ending? I won't spoil anything, but I think it does a noteworthy job (as does the book) of offering us readers a very interesting perspective of World War II, one that we wouldn't often get to see. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen a movie or read a book that deals with female pilots or wireless operatives. But on top of that, Queenie and Maddie aren't overly concerned with the war. They're concerned with doing their jobs properly and of meeting their expectations, but we also get to see all the little ways in which a war like this tears peoples' lives apart. Beautiful and tragic, all at the same time.

But I have to warn you that I struggled with the first half of the book. Queenie was easily my favourite character and I loved what she had to say, but I found the way it was written to be difficult to stick with. As I already mentioned, I'm not one to enjoy reading journal entries - I always find it lacking as a method of narration, because we only get to read what that person is writing down on paper. And it almost feels anti-climatic since everything said is being described after the fact and upon further reflection by an individual. Plus, I found Code Name Verity even more difficult to read as a journal because while Queenie's writing it, she's writing it from the perspective of her friend Maddie. Or, what she thinks Maddie's perspective/story would be and how to best tell it.

People told me to stick with it and keep reading and HOW GLAD AM I THAT I DID JUST THAT. I honestly would have felt like I missed out on one of the books of the year had I not finished this one. But I really enjoy historical fiction and this one is great- right down to the writing style and character voices/slang used. Another fair warning though: there's a lot of talk of airplanes and flying that went way over my head. A lot of it. I think it's more so to set an atmosphere and get into the character's heads but it can drag on to read about.

And I should add that by the time I finishd the book I realized that the journal style was necessary for the set up of the story; I can't fathom any other way that it would've worked as well as it did.
This books is one of the few that gets better after you read it. The way it sinks in, and you can't get it out of your head. It isn't a book that you finish and forget about immediately afterwards.

ARC/e-galley received from Random House Canada for review.

Review quote

Julie and Maddie are brought together by their desire to serve their country during World War II. One is trained as a spy to work with the French Resistance; the other ferries military planes and special human cargo between British military airfields. The novel opens with Julie already captured and tortured by the Gestapo. She declares herself a coward for agreeing to tell the Nazis the wireless codes in return for her clothes. Julie frames the information she gives her captors within the story of how she and Maddie became friends. Julie's section abruptly ends with a command to send her to a nightmarish death. The next part is the counterpoint to Julie's section. It is in Maddie's slim section that Wein skillfully ratchets up the tension and places Julie's section into its true perspective. This is a tale of friendship and courage. This is historical fiction at its finest, shining a light on a part of World War II rarely addressed in YA literature. Esther Sinofsky, Ph.D., Administrative Coordinator, Los Angeles (California) Unified School District Highly Recommended Library Media Connection"