Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Historical Fiction
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.
“Second Star to the Right and Straight on ’til Morning.”
Ouch. My feels hurt a lot right now. I went into this book with eagerness, excitement and anticipation, but I was also well aware it caused many people heartache. I was not prepared for why.
I thought the book was almost over and done- but then NOPE, PLOT TWIST. Oh my god, plot twists everywhere! I need to break this down to talk about this book in a way that makes sense. So let’s talk about the characters.
The story follows a woman, known as “Verity” (slight spoiler: her name is Julie) and as the synopsis says, she is caught by the Gestapo after she has parachuted into France for the resistance. She makes a deal with the Gestapo under interrogation to postpone her execution if she gives them intelligence, codes and details about the English operations. That is what this book is- her giving them her story. And that is all I will say on that matter because it’s just so bloody clever and Julia is a bloody genius. Julia is the type of female character I would kill to see more of in fiction, young adult or not. She is ballsy, and playful and humourous and strong and courageous and gah- she is a wonderful Scot. Throughout her story, she talks about her friend the pilot: Maddie. One of the few female pilots in Britain during wartime, while Maddie is not cleared to go to France, she mainly acts as a taxi for the forces up and down the country. One of the major things I adored in this book was the friendship between Julia and Maddie. They weren’t attached at the hip, they couldn’t be because of the war, but they loved each other, and I was rooting for them both to come through this whole thing without a scratch and be reunited at the end. Did they? Well, that would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it?
This book is split into two parts, the first when Julie is writing her story under duress, and the second is …”After”. After what exactly, I won’t say- again, spoilers. (I feel like River Song). This book swept me away, I cared about the characters almost instantly. I cried halfway through the book because it just looked so bleak and I was upset on behalf of the characters, even though there was no evidence that what was assumed was true. I really want to read the companion novel “Rose Under Fire”, but I’m going to have to recover from this book first. This book keeps you on your toes because there are twists everywhere, and it is definitely one of the most memorable books I will have read this year. All I can say is I will never think of Peter Pan in the same way again.
“Fly the plane, Maddie.”