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 and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
When a young Scottish woman is arrested by the Nazis for spying in France, her interrogation and confession become not only a desperate revelation of secrets that might keep her alive for a few days longer, but also an unspooling of her memories and friendship with Maddie, a female pilot and mechanic who should not have been flying to France. In tense moments and amid various reprisals, her testimony shines as brightly as her spirit, and the reader cannot help but hope that somehow, someway she’ll make it home.
What can I say about this book without ruining it for another reader? It is one of the most convincing, beautiful stories of female friendship that I have ever seen put to paper – it is straight magic in that regard. Maddie and ‘Verity’ come alive in each other’s eyes; they are real, beautiful young women with hearts and heads, idiosyncrasies and weaknesses. They are possessed of such courage, determination and ferocity that it is impossible at the end of it all to remember that they are only fictional characters.
Let me try again to make this sound professional and impartial: Code Name Verity is a taut, moving novel of friendship forged in the midst of World War II, when girls were being called upon to pilot planes, take on intelligence missions and serve their country in ways they never had been before. This is a story of the line between truth and lies, of the intensity of human existence, of the importance of the family you make for yourself, and a patchwork of those indelible moments that scar, mold, and change a person forever. It is beautiful and dangerous and heart-rending.
Ah, I don’t think I succeeded. Here are a few other things I’ll say: I’ve owned this book since May (thanks to @Ginger_Clark’s badgering and many, many retweeted rave reviews), but I held off on reading it until yesterday. I missed my book club meeting in the afternoon to finish it without spoilers. Charlotte Gray happened to be on television as I finished the book (so. many. coincidences!), and then this morning it was awarded a Printz Honor. All those rave reviews, the awards? Deserved. Code Name Verity left me a sobbing wreck of a human being, in the best way.
Recommended for: everyone (well, everyone age twelve and over), but especially those partial to historical fiction, WWII accounts and aviatrixes, and anyone who appreciates a haunting and wonderful story.