Friday, March 28, 2014

Book review: Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on 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?

I'm not sure I should write a review on this book. I try to only write reviews on books I recommend or that were just weird enough that you might see it and wonder is that any good? and I can tell you whether it was or not (like Candy Girl). I didn't loove Code Name Verity, and it isn't in that second category either. 

But I think, if you like historical fiction a lot, and if you like books with strong ladies leading, this might be up your alley.

Code Name Verity tells the story of two women swept up into WWII. In a time when everyone was serving their country, these two friends found ways to serve that used their unique talents in positions that were typically given to men.

I was pretty bored the first half of the book, to be honest. But about a third of the way in, or maybe even halfway through, it hits you with a twist -- and that twist was pretty great. It kept me reading for the rest of the book.

What got me through the first half is how real and strong and beautiful and wonderful the characters are. Maddie and Queenie are amazing female characters because they are strong in a kick-ass kind of way, but also in a very real way where you get to see their struggles and fears. They're not just kick-ass, they're vulnerable too. They also have a super strong relationship that is not based on talking about boys or romance -- there is very little (if any?) romance in this book. Code Name Verity is a wonderful depiction of to female friends and their challenges and victories in the awful circumstance of a world war.

There are other characters, too, and I loved them, too. I love Queenie's brother, Jamie, and her whole family. The way these girls entwine in each others lives and how you get to know them as they get to know each other (if that makes sense) was a really life-like portrayal of new friendship becoming best friendship, and I loved that aspect too.

So. Since I was bored for a good portion of this book, I'm not sure I can recommend it without reservation. But there was definitely a lot to love in this book, too.

Have any of you read Code Name Verity? What did you think?

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