Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Read from May 8, 2012
to May 10, 2012
Book: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Number of Pages: 327 
Genre/s: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

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. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page. - From Goodreads

**This review focuses more on the feelings I had in Code Name Verity rather than about the characters. This was intentional to keep myself from giving away major spoilers.

Excerpt: "All I have done is buy myself time, time to write this. I haven't really told anyone anything of use. I've only told a story. But I have told the truth. Isn't that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth."

Code Name Verity was one of a kind. I believe it was the first book I ever come across that did not make any sense, well at least to me. Everything I read was pure technical, war details, pilot stuff and I couldn't care less. I was ready to drop this and just get on with my life--I was bored, in short.

But there was something really compelling about its narration. Told from two perspectives, you just want to find out what would happen next and even though you know that freedom is next to nil, you still wish for it. 

Verity is a British spy. When she made a seemingly minor but fatal mistake of blowing her cover by looking at the wrong side of the road, she was arrested and held as a prisoner of war. This start ed her confession and she was then branded as a collaborator.

She started this confession by saying, "I am a coward." I believed her. She was indeed a coward but what I did not realize was she was brilliant and cunning. If only I knew how  good she was as a spy, I would've prevented the inevitable. Before I knew it, I was cradling my heart like a broken limb suffering from what I called the book-heart attack. That "KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK" wrecked my heart in two. *sobs*

It amazes me how Wein managed to snagged my heart where it mattered. She planted tangents and those tangents knitted itself together taking the story with it. As I was reading, I thought I have no idea what the characters were talking about but I kept guessing correctly at everything!

Don't be fooled by Code Name Verity. It is not solely a novel about World War II. It was the undercurrent, yes but Code Name Verity is so much more. It is a novel about friendship and loyalty, how you will do anything to save someone precious to you. It was everything the book cover was trying to sell.

It is so hard for me to write this review, more so in rating it. Logically, Code Name Verity is a book I would not like. It was slow and it does not make any sense half of the time. But the saving grace of this book definitely overshadowed its weak points. Code Name Verity made me feel so much. There was just too much conflicting emotions running around inside of me that I simply do not know what to say. But if there was one feeling that stood out from the rest, it would be heart ache. I was heartbroken, crashed and trampled upon by this heartrending tale of friendship and sacrifice. 

Resilience and patience pays in the end my friends, and I was definitely glad I decided to finish this book.

Cupid's Verdict:
An advanced copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.


  1. It made me feel better to read your review, because I feel exactly this way. I really didn't understand or like it. So, after the first few chapters, I went and looked up some reviews, and since they were so good, I plugged along -- for a while -- then I put it down again. I finished another book, and am now considering picking this one up again. It sounds like I should, according to your review. Even thought "its slow and it does not make any sense half the time." I couldn't agree more...but I'm going to have another go at it.


    1. I feel so happy to hear that, Annette. I really wish you'd pick it up again and I hope that you'll like it as much as I do or even more! :D

  2. I love this review so, so much, Sarah. This truly is a book that rewards patience.To be honest, I was never bored, but I absolutely understand what you meant by it and I'm glad you didn't give up.
    I loved it so much that I ordered a physical copy for me AND for my sister.
    Fabulous review, darling. :)

  3. I'm glad that you ended up liking this one for the emotions involved, even if you would normally get stuck on the technicalities involved. I have to say I didn't notice this aspect myself, but I'm a fan of WWII Britain, and have read enough books set in that period that I probably fell into it more easily than most readers. The piloting and war details have been the biggest complaint I've heard.

  4. Okay I had seen this on netgalley but didn't really think much on it because I needed to finish of the already large netgalley reading pile of mine...but now i think i should have requested it :)

  5. The cover looks cool...Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. At first I was wondering where it was going, but then I didn't want to put the book down. I needed to know the rest of the story, what is going to happen with Queenie? Why does she know the things she knows? What the hell happen with Maddie and where is she now that the other thing happen? This book tried to give you a feel of how crazy and resistant and broken down a person can become under such pressure and/or torture. And no matter what other people think of you, how strong can you be to do the task that needs to be doing in such horrible circumstances.

  7. I have heard so many good things about this book, but I haven't read it. I am not sure that I will either. I might one day, if I run across it at the library. I do like the cover.

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