Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

Wow. If you like spy novels, suspense thrillers, World War II espionage, strong female characters, plot and character-driven stories, Really Good Books, read this book. I would warn that there is violence throughout, not gratuitous, but definitely too much for some people. The main character, Verity, is being “questioned” by the Gestapo for half of the novel. After that, it gets really nasty.

Yet, despite all the torture and bloodshed, this novel is really a story about a friendship between two young women. Maddie is middle class British girl who’s managed to learn to fly an airplane, almost by accident, just before World War II breaks out. And her friend, an upper class Scotswoman who grew up in a castle and was educated at finishing school and at Oxford, is a radio operator. The two girls are thrown together by the war, and the novel traces the outlines of their growing friendship and even comradeship in arms.

Code Name Verity was just what I needed after reading Palace Walk, in which all of the women were intimidated and afraid. Although Verity and Maddie are afraid, too (they spend several pages listing their top ten fears), the two young women manage to rise above their fears and perform courageous acts of heroism. Maddie’s mantra that she repeats to herself in crisis moments is, “Just fly the plane, Maddie!”

The book also has references to other literary classics, especially Peter Pan, lots of surprises, creative details that make the characters and setting come alive, and just loads of intrigue and heart. Thank you, Hyperion, for the review copy.

13 thoughts on “Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  1. Here’s the question everyone else will want to know: Did you cry? No one ever mentions it on Twitter without saying they cried. I cried, and I HATE crying. But I did love this book. And I totally agree with you on how refreshing it was to have female protags who just did what they needed to do despite their fears.

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  3. Put it on my wishlist where I hope it doesn’t linger too long–it sounds exactly like the sort of escape I’d love to enjoy and soon! Thanks for your review.

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