Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

Oct. 11th, 1943 - A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun. 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....

Title:Code Name Verity
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Code Name Verity Reviews

  • Jo

    This review is going to be a bit vague because I really, really, reallyreally don’t want to spoil this book for anyone. Because oh my gosh….

    This review really

    going to be vague unlike all my other ‘vague’ reviews which go on for about a year.

    The first thing I did after I finished reading this book was to pick up my phone and text my best friend, who I have known since I was eleven and has been there through every single one of my problems and ill-advised fringes,

    This review is going to be a bit vague because I really, really, reallyreally don’t want to spoil this book for anyone. Because oh my gosh….

    This review really

    going to be vague unlike all my other ‘vague’ reviews which go on for about a year.

    The first thing I did after I finished reading this book was to pick up my phone and text my best friend, who I have known since I was eleven and has been there through every single one of my problems and ill-advised fringes, and tell her that I loved her.

    The second thing I did after I finished reading this book was flip back to the beginning and start reading it again.

    I don’t mind admitting that it took me and this book a while to really get going.. The way this book was written with all the capital letters bothered me and the changing in perspectives and everything really confused me.

    It took me a good 100 pages to get into but seeing as this book is over 400 pages long; that was absolutely fine.

    And after those first 100 pages, I learnt the truth and that is: This book is

    .

    I knew I’d love it when I was noseying at the wonderful

    status updates and then I read the synopsis.

    Spies? Pilots? Codes? Secrets? History? Best friends?

    These are a few of my favourite things…

    I loved the setting. I loved the plot. I loved the era.

    And the twists absolutely threw me (although, I

    have the smallest of small inklings of one thing but that’s only because I have a clever dad who eats history books for breakfast and I accidentally asked a question that got made me put a few things together…)

    The twist and the ending…. I just can’t even think about them without jibbering.

    is

    of YA literature.

    Like I said above, the second thing I did after I finished reading this book was to go back to the beginning and read over certain parts again. I know that this book will be one of those books that will get better and better every time I read it.

    I loved Verity. I loved Maddie.

    They were

    girls.

    They laugh, they cry, they flirt with boys, they gossip, they’re loyal, they fly planes, they can land planes, they can speak different languages, they can crack codes, they can do the unthinkable, they do the right thing.

    I loved that, with Maddie and Verity, Ms Wein showed that you can be strong, you can be brave, you can be good at what you do, you can be the

    at what you do and you can do all this without sacrificing your femininity and/or becoming a passive-aggressive “message”. There was never a sense that these ladies did what they did in a “Look! Look! We can do it

    . We’re just as good as boys!” and because they had something to prove.

    They were such rich and beautiful characters and I loved, loved, loved them both so dearly.

    And, anyway, boys didn’t even get a

    . They wouldn’t be able to keep up with any of the girls in this book.

    Pffft.

    ;-)

    The phrase

    is mentioned frequently in this book and I couldn’t help but be reminded of this poster:

    [

    ]

    Also, the fact that that I own that very poster [bought from the

    , I’ve still not been to the London one, or the Churchill War Rooms,

    … one day :) ] and it is hanging up on my bedroom wall….that helped too.

    So that’s it.

    That’s my review.

    It doesn’t do this book justice in the slightest but it’s the best that I can do.

    Read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog

    .

  • Maggie

    Do you remember when The English Patient came out? Or rather, do you remember when the

    about The English Patient came out? (Elaine goes to see it and HATES it, and is either shunned or dragged back to the theater to rewatch because everyone else loves it. She ends up getting sent to Tunisia by her boss, J. Peterman, because the movie was filmed there. Cameo by Holly the waitress/witch from True Blood playing a waitress.)

    I'm usually Elaine in these situations, so I worried a litt

    Do you remember when The English Patient came out? Or rather, do you remember when the

    about The English Patient came out? (Elaine goes to see it and HATES it, and is either shunned or dragged back to the theater to rewatch because everyone else loves it. She ends up getting sent to Tunisia by her boss, J. Peterman, because the movie was filmed there. Cameo by Holly the waitress/witch from True Blood playing a waitress.)

    I'm usually Elaine in these situations, so I worried a little bit after reading glowing review after glowing review of

    . However, this book held my attention from the beginning, and I want to send all the Elaines to Ormaie for inspiration.*

    Something that I see authors and filmmakers struggle with is how to portray a strong, kick-ass female who can hang with the boys and still retain her femininity. One way is to sexualize them a la Angelina Jolie, and another way is to claim they are the fiercest assassin of all time and then have them fawn over pretty dresses.

    Yes, I read

    just before Code Name Verity. Elizabeth Wein, however, makes it look so simple with her portrayal of Queenie. Little details like neatly arranged hairpins and well maintained fingernails say so much more than a ball gown, and it keeps you within the context of the story.

    Speaking of the story, it's set during World War II when most of the men are off fighting. Still, given the current state of YA, I fully expected a love triangle to somehow get shoehorned in. I did get a love story, but not the one I dreaded/expected.

    The friendship between Queenie and Maddie, two people from different backgrounds who wouldn't have met under ordinary circumstances, is one that I loved reading. It's the bond between two soldiers who contribute to the war effort in their different ways, whether it's aviation or language proficiency. The story jumps from present to past, but I loved seeing how their relationship evolved. One discussion that struck a nerve with me was when early in their friendship, they talk about their fears. In your 20s, the looming milestone is 30. When people asked me what I was going to do for 30, I would say, "Ugh, kill myself!" It's the vanity and arrogance of youth, of privilege, of safety. Queenie is the same, until that privilege is no longer in her control. She says,

    Queenie is one of my favorite characters ever, up there with Evanjalin from

    . Her intelligence and boldness comes through the page, and Wein's writing exemplifies the principle of "show, don't tell." I loved this story of war, camaraderie, and sacrifice. I loved Queenie's mother, who left the windows open in her house in the hope that her children would be home soon, because this is also a story about faith. Queenie and Maddie have to have faith in each other and faith in the strangers on whose help they depend. This was one of my favorite books of 2012, and one I highly recommend. I have told the truth.

    --

    *No Elaines were harmed in the writing of this review.

  • Katie Montgomery

    Page 2: DAMN this book is good.

    Page 25: GODDAMN this book is good.

    Page 60: This may be the best WW II novel I've ever read. EVER. SUCK IT, HEMINGWAY.

    Page 68: Crying.

    Page 70: Laughing.

    Page 113: Biting freshly manicured fingernails to smithereens DAMNIT WEIN I PAID FORTY DOLLARS FOR THESE NAILS.

    Page 150: Okay, so, I have to pee, but I really don't want to have to stop reading. This could get uncomfortable.

    Page 200: *THUMP* "Um, Katie, you OK up there?" "... It's cool. I just fell out of bed."

    Page

    Page 2: DAMN this book is good.

    Page 25: GODDAMN this book is good.

    Page 60: This may be the best WW II novel I've ever read. EVER. SUCK IT, HEMINGWAY.

    Page 68: Crying.

    Page 70: Laughing.

    Page 113: Biting freshly manicured fingernails to smithereens DAMNIT WEIN I PAID FORTY DOLLARS FOR THESE NAILS.

    Page 150: Okay, so, I have to pee, but I really don't want to have to stop reading. This could get uncomfortable.

    Page 200: *THUMP* "Um, Katie, you OK up there?" "... It's cool. I just fell out of bed."

    Page 233: *THUMP* "Um, did you just ...?" "... Yeah, again. Shut up."

    (I read the rest of the book over the course of the evening and since I am not pro-spoiler I will not continue with the emotional roller coaster except to say that there was one.)

    (Also, READ THIS BOOK. IT IS TRULY, TRULY SPECIAL.)

    PS - Watch for a Maximum Shelf issue from Shelf Awareness on this title ;)

  • Emily May

    I have a feeling I'm not going to be very popular by posting this review, everyone seems to love this book so far and I feel more disappointed in myself and my tastes than the novel or the author.

    is one of those books that are the reason why I created the shelf

    . I mentioned this very recently in my review of

    and it is also similar to the experience I had trying to read

    and

    . I just found 90% of the book long-winded

    I have a feeling I'm not going to be very popular by posting this review, everyone seems to love this book so far and I feel more disappointed in myself and my tastes than the novel or the author.

    is one of those books that are the reason why I created the shelf

    . I mentioned this very recently in my review of

    and it is also similar to the experience I had trying to read

    and

    . I just found 90% of the book long-winded and unnecessary.

    The novel opens where the narrator has been captured by the Nazi opposition during WWII. She is given paper to tell her story and she does so through the eyes of her friend Maddie. Different, definitely. Maddie's story is told in various anecdotes, a technique I've already failed to appreciate in

    but I suppose the intention was to subtly build up a picture of both girls' pasts and their friendship. This book is not very plot-focused or fast-paced, it's about conversations and people and female pilots during the second world war, which would all have been great if it had been balanced out with a touch of drama.

    I cannot tell you just how much I wanted to like this. It's about women's involvement in the war and us Northern girls - two topics that don't get nearly enough press. But, for me, there was just too big a focus on piloting and aircraft and I'm sorry but I struggled to care. If you read the author's note at the end she will tell you that this book is actually meant to be about pilots:

    And not enough else was brought in. There's only so many descriptions of a pilot's job I can sit through before I start to snooze, each to their own but flying planes has never been an interest of mine. The best parts of this book were the touching ending and the fact that the narrator is delightfully unreliable (I love them, I do! Eugenides, I miss you...) but I needed more. All I really want is for a book to rouse some passion in me, whether it be excitement, sadness, anger even... I felt nothing.

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    Reviewing this book feels much like walking through a minefield. (Not that I know what

    feels like, but I can imagine, you know.) On the one hand, I can’t reveal too much of the plot. I can’t reveal almost anything, really, lest I ruin the experience for you guys. On the other hand, I have to write just enough to make you want to pick this book up because it’s one you don’t want to miss. Trust me. I suppose I could just point you to

    and leave it to her to

    Reviewing this book feels much like walking through a minefield. (Not that I know what

    feels like, but I can imagine, you know.) On the one hand, I can’t reveal too much of the plot. I can’t reveal almost anything, really, lest I ruin the experience for you guys. On the other hand, I have to write just enough to make you want to pick this book up because it’s one you don’t want to miss. Trust me. I suppose I could just point you to

    and leave it to her to convince you, but I’m not that much of a coward. *coughs* I just did that! *coughs*

    So here goes nothing…

    I don’t normally read historical fiction unless it’s highly recommended. Code Name Verity was, directly or indirectly, recommended to me by two of my trusted friends, Chachic and Jo, and, as I already mentioned, my favorite young adult author Maggie Stiefvater. And of course they were right.

    Code Name Verity is a story about two best friends, Maddie and Queenie, fighting in World War II. They probably never would have met in peacetime, as they come from entirely different circles of society: Queenie is Scottish royalty who grew up in a castle, while Maddie is a bike shop owner’s granddaughter. That didn’t stop them from becoming best friends while serving together in WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), and staying close even when the war took them in different directions.

    All Maddie ever wanted was to fly airplanes. She was in training before the war and when the war started, she waited patiently for them to accept female pilots, which eventually they did. Queenie’s talents lie elsewhere: she is fluent in both German and French and able to momentarily slip into any role, be herself one second, and someone entirely different the next. Although these two have very little in common on the surface, deep down they are both incredibly strong, intelligent and compassionate women.

    But for me, the most fascinating character was Queenie’s capturer, Hauptsturmfürer von Linden. He starts as pure evil, of course, but as the story progresses, we are offered small details of his life that give him an entirely different face, one that is complex and multi-layered and that causes the reader to be just as conflicted as Queenie.

    Our story starts when Queenie gets captured by the Gestapo in France. Upon breaking her with torture and turning her into a collaborator, von Linden allows her to write down the events that led her to his cruel hands, and her written testimony is what we are given.

    The narrative itself takes some getting used to. Queenie tells her present story in first person, but switches to third person and focuses on Maddie every time she talks about the past. It was a little strange at first, having the narrator talk about herself in third person, but I soon realized that it was an excellent way for Wein to help her readers adapt to constant alternations between the past and the present.

    Every once in a while you know that you’ve stumbled upon a classic. Code Name Verity might have been published in 2012, but there is no doubt in my mind that it will endure the test of time. It has the weight (although not quite the genius) of The Book Thief. I'm sure it will receive awards and critical acclaim.

    Also posted at

  • Maggie Stiefvater

    I’ll confess right up front that I’m not usually a big historical fiction fan. I realize this seems somewhat hypocritical of me, as I was a history major in college and adore history, but a lot of times, I find historical fiction more impenetrable than a primary source document. The characters either don’t feel like real people to me, or they feel like modern people to me. I get distracted by historical info-dumps and bored by epic scale machinations. Basically, I like my historical fiction very

    I’ll confess right up front that I’m not usually a big historical fiction fan. I realize this seems somewhat hypocritical of me, as I was a history major in college and adore history, but a lot of times, I find historical fiction more impenetrable than a primary source document. The characters either don’t feel like real people to me, or they feel like modern people to me. I get distracted by historical info-dumps and bored by epic scale machinations. Basically, I like my historical fiction very personal and very intimate. So when I got sent a copy of Code Name Verity, I thought, okay. I’ll read twenty pages and then I’ll give it to my sister.

    But my sister has not yet gotten this book, because I don’t want to let it out of my house yet. I adored it.

    1. First of all, I believe it. The people feel like real people to me, and the details feel like real details. ARE they real details? Possibly not. We all slip up on our research sometimes, but man, this stuff feels genuine. The main character’s best friend is a pilot, and that part I knew was real even before I read that Elizabeth Wein had a pilot's license. I could feel the real-life love and knowledge of flying seeping through the pages. It was grand.

    2. It doesn’t feel like anything I’ve read before — certainly not in YA. Not just in genre or in subject matter, but just . . . the characters are unique and specific people and the situations they’re in are unique and specific. It feels like I looked through a tiny window into a real life, and that’s just not something you can cut and paste.

    3. As with all my favorite books, it rewards the careful reader. If an author can make me gasp once, it’s likely that novel is ending up on my favorites shelf. If an author can make me gasp THREE TIMES, either the author is making me read their novel underwater or it’s really cleverly done. This one’s really cleverly done. It was a three-gasper. When was the last time I read a three gasper? I don’t remember. Maybe when I read THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST underwater . . . Now, that said, CODE NAME VERITY is not a fast read. If you go into it expecting to whip through it in an evening or even two, you’re not doing it justice. Give the characters some time to infest your heart.

    4. It’s hard, but not harrowing. This is worth pointing out, because the central premise is that the narrator has been shot down over occupied France and is now being tortured for her confession. It could be awful. Sort of like BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, which I also loved, but would never read again because of how hard it was. This book, on the other hand — not only does it have so many lovely and sweeping moments, but it’s also surprisingly funny. I laughed out loud several times. Thought when I tried to explain to Lover why I was laughing, I invariably failed. LOVER: I thought you said she was being tortured? ME: Yeah, but, the Hitler line, it . . . never mind.

    5. It stuck with me. This, to me, is the Holy Grail of novels. I love some novels and forget them the moment they’re out of my sight. Other novels I love and then they become part of me for days or weeks or forever. I will be reminded of them at the strangest moments. CODE NAME VERITY does more than stick with me. It haunts me. I just can’t recommend it enough. I can’t even make this recommendation funny. I love it too much.

  • Marie Lu

    One of two books this year to make me cry--I mean, tears-pouring-down-my-face cry. Queenie and Maddie are the best character duo ever. Oh god, my heart still hurts.

  • jo

    this book.

    everyone on goodreads, stymied by the impossible task of saying

    about what happens in this book without giving away the entirety of it, sputters and stutters and eventually says, READ IT. read it read it read it readit readit readitreaditreadit PLEASE READ IT

    there's

    but most of it is blacked out. read it for the enthusiasm and sense of wonderment. come back to it after you've read the book and click the spoiler link so you can have the book explained to

    this book.

    everyone on goodreads, stymied by the impossible task of saying

    about what happens in this book without giving away the entirety of it, sputters and stutters and eventually says, READ IT. read it read it read it readit readit readitreaditreadit PLEASE READ IT

    there's

    but most of it is blacked out. read it for the enthusiasm and sense of wonderment. come back to it after you've read the book and click the spoiler link so you can have the book explained to you in case you missed something (you won't have missed anything).

    1. it's like nothing i've ever read.

    2. it's about war, torture, weapons, airplanes, piloting, motorcycles, and lots of mechanical things and it's entirely staffed by women.

    3. you won't understand how on earth elizabeth wein could possibly have come up with something like this and you will worship her with abandon until you read the author's note at the end (don't read it until you finish!), at which point you will still worship her but at least you will have a sense of how she came up with this.

    4. you won't know this is the reason, but the fact that this is a story of women that's also a story of war, torture, weapons, airplanes, piloting, motorcycles, and lots of mechanical things

    . this is not what books with women characters look like. it doesn't compute.

    5. it's genius plotting and genius writing and genius heart.

    6. it's about women loving each other fiercely with a love you wish you had or had had or could have right now because you need it.

    7. it's about pain and hardship but it's incredibly tender.

    8. it sings.

    9. it's a slow read. read it slowly. as

    , "give the characters some time to infest your heart."

    10. it's not ya, or i don't understand the ya category at all. here's my theory: someone decided it was ya because it's about young (not teen: young) women (instead of, you know, men). or because EW writes ya. or because there are no profanities, no sex, and no drugs. or all of the above.

    11. if historical fiction bores you, get over it,

    (i'm not crazy about it either, in fact i avoid it like the plague).

    12. thank you, elizabeth wein,

    .

  • Rick Riordan

    My final foray into World War II territory (for now, anyway) is Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, a young adult novel which really defies description, but I'll try. At its heart, Code Name Verity is the story of two young British women, Maddie and Queenie (or Julie), who undertake a secret mission behind enemy lines in Occupied France in 1943. The novel begins as a confession being written by Queenie while being held as a prisoner of the Gestapo. Clearly, her mission has gone terribly wrong. Qu

    My final foray into World War II territory (for now, anyway) is Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, a young adult novel which really defies description, but I'll try. At its heart, Code Name Verity is the story of two young British women, Maddie and Queenie (or Julie), who undertake a secret mission behind enemy lines in Occupied France in 1943. The novel begins as a confession being written by Queenie while being held as a prisoner of the Gestapo. Clearly, her mission has gone terribly wrong. Queenie has been captured, tortured, and forced to write her story for her interrogators, and while that story is fiercely compelling in itself, the more we read, the more we begin to sense that there is more to Queenie and her mission that we are being told. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that there are games within games being played here. The whole experience for the reader parallels what the characters are feeling. Who is telling the truth? Whom can we trust? Who is an agent, a double-agent, a collaborator, a spy? Wein clearly knows her subject matter, whether it is airplanes (the author is a pilot) or life during World War II. Her characters are so real they leap off the page. Maddie and Julie embody courage, pluck and humor even in the darkest of circumstances. By turns heartrendingly sad and fiercely uplifting, Code Name Verity is the best YA book I've read in a long, long time. If you like historical fiction, or spy thrillers, or just books that constantly surprise you with, "OH MY GOD, THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON???" moments, you should really read this. (I include both versions of the US cover, as it has changed. Which do you like best?)

  • Jen

    This is ultimately a story of friendship, love and loyalty. Two secret agents whom have become best friends. One an interrogator, Verity; the other, a pilot, Kittyhawk. Their mission to German occupied France goes awry and Kittyhawk is forced to make a crash landing and Verity has to parachute out. They become separated. The 1st half of the story is told by Verity who has been captured by the Nazis and is armed with a pencil and paper forced to disclose codes. What becomes her ‘dissertation of t

    This is ultimately a story of friendship, love and loyalty. Two secret agents whom have become best friends. One an interrogator, Verity; the other, a pilot, Kittyhawk. Their mission to German occupied France goes awry and Kittyhawk is forced to make a crash landing and Verity has to parachute out. They become separated. The 1st half of the story is told by Verity who has been captured by the Nazis and is armed with a pencil and paper forced to disclose codes. What becomes her ‘dissertation of treason’ is a narrative of how the 2 friends met and the value of that friendship. The 2nd half of the story is told by Kittyhawk and her own ordeal as she was hidden by the french resistance and sought information that Verity was still alive.

    What an amazing story - heartbreaking and emotional, characters so believable it’s difficult to believe this is a work of fiction. Wein weaves a powerful WWII story about war, friendship and the extremes one will go to for another.

    Thank you, Thank you Angela M, my GR friend, who recommended I get to this right away! I’m so glad I did. This one is a 5 ★.


Books Finder is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.