Saturday, June 9, 2012

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein summary reviewCode Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

Hyperion, 2012. 343 pgs. Teen fiction


"Verity," a Scottish girl who works as a spy for the British, has been caught by the Gestapo in France, and after being tortured, has begun to reveal the secret she promised she wouldn't tell, giving them an elaborate written confession. However, she details more than just her entry into France; slowly, she reveals the story of how she met Maddie, a pilot whose papers had with her when she was captured, detailing their friendship and how Maddie came to fly for the British.


This book is hard to describe without giving away some critical details. It's a story of war, and friendship, and heartbreak. I sometimes got a little frustrated with all the talking about planes and wished that the story just moved forward. It can also be hard to read between the lines sometimes to figure out what really matters (and, sometimes, who is who, since the characters have code names or are referred to by nicknames or description, rather than actual names)--and, if you're a naive reader and don't figure out quickly that Verity is an intentionally unreliable narrator, you could find yourself sympathizing with but not respecting her. This is definitely thought-provoking, and sad, and unique. It's not an easy read, but it's a worthwhile one. Be prepared to cry or feel like the wind is knocked out of you.

4 stars. Some vulgar comments and torture.


  1. This is an incredibly heartwarming story that is both tragic and heroic. The last quarter of the book was literally read with a lump in my throat. While the story and some of the locations were fictional, they were based on real locales. The details provided by author Elizabeth Wein were well-researched and add to the realism of the story. The story highlights the heroic actions of those not on the front lines, but who served in the resistance or served in whatever capacity was available to them.

    The friendship of the two girls is the driving force of the novel and is truly compelling. The pages fly by as you are drawn further into their lives. The bravery in the face of evil and danger is admirable. The complicated lives and actions of people on both sides of the conflict is handled deftly. This is a story that will linger with you long after the final word. A truly amazing story that should appeal to all ages.

    1. Thanks for your insights; you did a much better job explaining the emotional journey both the characters and the readers go on than I did :)