Code Name Verity
Elizabeth E. Wein
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
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. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Entertaining and insightful
What a great book. Interesting to get this perspective on how World War 2 affected lives of ordinary citizens of Germany, France, England and Scotland. Fun story.
This book was beyond amazing.
Dense and challenging but only in the best way.
A book that pushes you out of your normal reading pattern is a breath of fresh air.
Easily the best book I read this year!
Beautiful--pulls at your heart strings!
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.
This is the premise of Code Name Verity. To be honest, I did not expect it to open with the MC already captured and writing her confession. But her voice--oh her voice! Wein does a memorable job of creating a character who is speaking like someone at her wit’s end, being tortured and forced to confess, while having more strength than most of us would ever have in the same situation. I was enthralled and loving it by the end of page one. Here’s an example (from my book’s page 6):
"...I am a prisoner in the Ormaie Gestapo HG because I have no sense of direction whatsoever. Bearing in mind that the people who trained me encouraged my blissful ignorance of airfields just so I couldn’t tell you such a thing if you did catch me, and not forgetting that I wasn’t even told the name of the airfield we took off from when I came here: let me remind you that I had been in France less that 48 hours before that obliging agent of yours had to stop me being run over by a French van full of French chickens because I’d looked the wrong way before crossing the street. Which shows how cunning the Gestapo are. 'This person I’ve pulled from beneath the wheels of certain death was expecting traffic to travel on the left side of the road. Therefore she must be British, and is likely to have parachuted into Nazi-occupied France out of an Allied plane. I shall now arrest her as a spy.' ”
This is how the first bit of the book goes. Her banter. Her defiance. Her fear of being tortured. And then, just as you think you know what’s going on, things change. And then, they change again. And again. And... again. Until things build up to a point where you love these two girls and you feel what they feel and you get why they’re doing what they’re doing and yet surprised at the same time that half of what you thought was going on was actually something else entirely, and then the scene--THE SCENE--and the emotional part I had read about on the reviews and was anticipating just hit me and I was so emotional about it I actually had to set the book down and walk away. (This has never happened to me before.)
As I type this, I am still affected by it. And yet, the story continues. (I went back to reading a couple of hours later.) I can’t imagine anyone not liking Code Name Verity, but as I was impatiently awaiting its arrival, I read a few reviews and was shocked to see that some people flat-out hated the plane/flight elements of the book (it’s quite a bit of info, yes, but I did what I always do when I don’t “get” something I read about... I took the character for what they said, or glazed over it when I couldn’t perfectly picture it). One reviewer said they couldn’t even bear to finish it--I understand how subjective reading is (and here’s a quick shout-out to writers everywhere--this is life, it is never going to change, some will love us and some will hate us, but for the ones who don’t like what we’ve written, there are ten who do, and for the ones who didn’t like it, they’ll find ten books that they do) but all I could think as I read that one part, the part that tore me apart was DID THEY GET THIS FAR? WHEN THEY QUIT, HAD THEY READ TO THIS POINT?????
So bottom line, I loved Code Name Verity. I loved the characters, I loved the setting (World War II--Europe), I loved Wein’s voice. (Quick side note since this is YA: there is a bit of profanity in it, but in my opinion, it's all in context. Considering what was going on, however, it was used quite rarely.)