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. And I have told the truth.

codenameverity

I am over the moon excited to finally have something good to say about a book; there have been a couple real doozies that I have not been happy about, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

My first intro to this book was on a road trip about 3 years ago. We checked out a couple audio’s, but we only got a few chapters into the book before turning it off; too much swearing. I don’t think we realized it was in the teen section.

Since then, I have been in dire need of a new book that was good and checked out this one after seeing that it had won a couple of awards since then. I have also read raving reviews of the audio; apparently the narrator has really good accents. Quite a few characters have different accents, including French, German, American, Scottish, British and Jamaican. Personally though, I prefer to read swearing than hearing it out loud. Too jarring. All in all though, I didn’t think there was too much to handle.

Oh, so many good things! A historically accurate novel that is interesting is a really rare gem; most novels with lots of random facts thrown in tend be on the boring side. Wein does not mention anything that does not pertain to the story just because, which was a relief.  This story was all about women pilots during WWII, and I found out at the very end that Wein is actually a pilot. No wonder she knew so much! She really knew what she was talking about!

I will say that it took a while for the story to warm up a little, but the mystery of why Verity was so willing to talk during interrogation kept me curious the whole way through. Oh, and the end! So dang good! Warning: it will probably make you cry.

There was one part that I was particularly impressed by that didn’t need to be included. It doesn’t really give anything away, but Maddie is staying with a French family who are part of the resistance in German-occupied France. She is sleeping in the room of the oldest brother, who now works for the German Gestapo and is a ruthless inquisitor. Being a little nosey and curious to know more about the rebel, she finds an old notebook that he kept when he was only 10 years old, in which he writes that he has decided to be a nature enthusiast and is studying birds. I had tears in my eyes as Maddie wonders what it is in a man that turns him from a bird-watcher to cruel investigator.

There was something really incredible about the way Wein turned all the “bad guys” into something less bad. A little more blurry. von Linden, who can’t bear to see Verity’s pain. The bird-watcher-turned torturer. A little compassion here, an interest in her backstory there. Startling, but it made the story incredibly real, while also not exactly dwelling on what wasn’t needed.

As you might have figured out by now, this is not a children’s book. If it was a movie it would be a firm PG-13 for all three categories that I rate for. It is almost just as much an adult novel as a teen novel to me, but it could easily have been turned into an R rating if the author wasn’t so dedicated to her original age range. I will definitely be on the look out for another book by this author!

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (minus a half point for beginning wind-up)

Violence: 5/10 (for gore and torture methods; I’m pretty squeamish and didn’t have any problem with it, but still gross)

Language: 5/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 4/10 (nothing really bad ever happens, but there are a few men who can’t keep their hands to themselves)

Audience: Ages 13 and up

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One response

  1. hi
    thank you so much for your offer!
    I really appreciate your comment! I would love to be a guest writer on your blog!
    But I must warn you I’m more of a short order cook. I like the review to be short and simple. I write mostly for parents or anyone interested in the book in particular, To find out what it is about. It’s also pretty cool to have another lolache person on wordpress!
    Go JESUS!

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