Malissa's Reviews > Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
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Jul 18, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, young-adult

What to say about this book ... I obviously really liked it since I gave it 5 stars and put it on my favorites list. It's actually one of those books that makes me wish that I either gave more books I like 4 stars or could add a sixth for the ones like this. It's just a level above most others (at least for me). Ever since I read Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (last February according to Goodreads) I've been hoping for another book that struck me in the same way. I think this is it. It's also one that I can definitely see rereading. I actually kind of wanted to start it over again as soon as I finished ... (7/22/13 This is, in retrospect, perhaps my favorite book ever)

I don't usually explain what a book is about in a review because everyone has probably read the description for themselves by the time they get this far, but I don't think the publisher's description does it justice. Understandable because there's so much that the reader has to find out by actually reading the book, but still. So I'll give it a try. The book is set during WWII (though I'd advise those who don't love historical fiction or "war books" not to shy away, because I don't think it's really about the war). It's told from the point of view of two young women, Queenie and Maddie. As a Scottswoman of the nobility and a middle class English girl respectively, Queenie and Maddie are unlikely best friends brought together by war. Early in her narrative, Queenie says, "It's like being in love, discovering your best friend," and friendship is what the book is really about. Queenie eventually becomes a spy (for lack of a better word) and Maddie (as a woman pilot) part of a group that ferries planes and passengers (sometimes the secret kind) on home soil. One event leads to another, and Queenie is caught in Nazi occupied France and held and "questioned" by the Gestapo. There is next to no hope of her survival and so she makes a deal with her captors. Her story/confession (as much information as she can provide) for the luxury of things like clothing, a blanket, and the hope of a humane death. This is where the book actually begins, and the first roughly half is Queenie's story as written out for the Gestapo captain who is holding her. The second part of the book is an account of events by Maddie, some overlapping, some not.

This book is well written, compulsively readable (I thought), and well researched (with a really great author's note at the end). I found myself with a lot of questions in the first part of the story, but the kind that made me want to keep reading, not that made me want to put the book down. The two parts come together perfectly and the two narrators' voices are well done. I really recommend this book to pretty much any reader. There's plenty of suspense and a compelling plot without sacrificing characterization at all. Fair warning though, because of the personal way it's written, you might want to have a box or two of tissues handy ... (7/22/13 I thought I'd be prepared and brace myself during the second reading and not do the out loud crying. Fail ...)

7/22/13 - Reread this for my teen book club at work (and the adult club now too). Just as good as I remember, though I can never get that first time through back. Just a great book. I've recommended it to so many people and haven't had anyone disappointed so far. The "sequel" Rose Under Fire is definitely worth a read too.
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Reading Progress

July 18, 2012 – Started Reading
July 18, 2012 – Shelved
July 22, 2012 – Finished Reading
July 25, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites
July 25, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult

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