Goosebumps. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is an unforgettable story that will leave you tingly it is so remarkable and heart-wrenching. On the one hand, I’m glad that I read this during the summer, when I wasn’t distracted and could give it my full attention. On the other hand, looking ahead at the next two months of reading time, I know it’s going to be very hard to equal this book so I’m having a tricky time of it choosing what to pick up next. First and foremost, I like this novel so much because it is just a ripping good yarn. There is nothing gimmicky here, rather an honest, exciting story, rooted in history and in characters that spring off the page. It’s a war story and a portrait of friendship and heroism. I think the stylish book trailer gets it right:
Set during WWII, the bulk of the book is told from Verity’s point of view. After she has been captured by the Gestapo, she makes a deal, promising to reveal the truth of her mission in exchange for more time. She writes on scraps of paper, telling about her past, her training, and most of all her friendship with the pilot, Maddie, who flew her to France. In the second part, Maddie takes over and continues the narrative, adding her perspective and providing new insight into Verity’s situation and character. There are many surprises along the way, and the tension mounts all the way to the most dramatic, cinematic, and emotionally powerful climax I’ve read in a long time. It is so refreshing to read a young adult novel where female friendship takes complete center stage. This is not another wartime romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a little wartime romance, but we need more young adult books where the relationship between friends is explored and portrayed with the sensitivity and depth that you’ll find in Code Name Verity. The plotting is spot on, the historical detail impressive and evocative, and most of all, the two girls at the heart of this novel are unforgettable – full of pluck and intelligence and humour. I can say that this book has earned a place on my shelf of favourites.
Read Code Name Verity and pass it on to everyone you know. It’s that good.
Code Name Verity is published by Doubleday Canada.