Monday, August 20, 2012

Code Name Verity Review

Author: Elizabeth Wein
Release date: May 15, 2012
Pages: 332
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
How I got it: For review from publisher 
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.
So after all the things I'd heard about Code Name Verity I decided to give it a go, despite it being about 70 years away from my comfort zone. There was no bawling from me like there has been from many others, but I'm still glad I listened to the hype in this case, because Wein has crafted a truly unique and brave story that I'm glad to be able to call YA.

Both Verity and Maddie are strong, lovable heroines who I was unable to relate to, but that I really really admired and respected. Actually that's how I felt about the entire book: I have nothing in the world but respect for it, not even any real emotional attachment to it. When I picked it up I enjoyed it and was constantly left guessing but when I put it down I didn't seem to miss it much.

Really there's not much more I can say about this one about giving things away. I enjoyed it and am definitely glad I read it, but for whatever reason I was just unable to connect with it on an emotional level. If you take emotions out of it, then this is a truly fantastic book. Very literary, very smart, very much in the running for the Printz. Even if it's out of your comfort zone like it is mine, I recommend giving it a try. It's well worth the read, even if it wasn't magnificent for me.

Plot: Very slowly paced (intentionally, probably) but also very well-executed.
Characters: Admired them a lot.
Writing: Where the book really shines, in my opinion.
Ending: Really freaking sad, but it had to be, I guess. And good. It was sad and good.
I'll put this book down at the drop of the hat, but when I pick it up I can't help but be thoroughly impressed.
This was a very tricky review for me to write, because I have such mixed feelings about it, but in a way I never have before. I don't know. Code Name Verity seemed kind of like a classic to me, in that I may not have loved it, but I'd still recommend everyone read it. Sorry, crappy review, but that's all I've got for you.


  1. I can see where you are coming from. It took me a while to get into this one as well, and I didn't cry per say but I definitely loved the writing and the story and the characters. I think you comparing it to reading a classic really quite clicks for me. It's a book you admire and enjoy but aren't emotionally attached to. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. Definitely want to read this at some point. Sounds deep.

  3. Aw, this is one of those books that I want everyone to read and love but I also know it won't appeal to every reader. I am really glad you gave it a go and I'm sorry that you were unable to emotionally connect with it. You saved yourself a box of tissues because that's how many I feel I used when I cried my eyes out! Great honest review, Jessica!

  4. You know how I felt about this one. *snore* planes, planes, planes. Glad you got something out of it.


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