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, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.– Goodreads
Review: Actual rating: 4.5/5
I was actually never going to read this book. I know, I just heard your gasps. I wasn’t going to read it though for various reasons, mostly one: I wrote my undergrad thesis on women, France and World War II. My dear best friend lived with me while I wrote this thesis. She heard me yell many times about France, World War II and women in the resistance movement. By the time this book came out I was over any combination of those three phrases. There was not enough booze in the world that would make me want to tackle that topic for a really long time.
Then I went to ALA 2013 in Chicago. At ALA, I went to the YALSA coffee klatch with Tina. We spent most of our time beforehand discussing what a coffee klatch was (thank goodness for smartphones). The coffee klatch worked like this: you sit at random tables with people, a spot stays open, and an author sits down and discusses their book for four minutes. Those four minutes go by really fast, but you get to meet a great random group of authors. Well, one of our authors was Elizabeth Wein. Although I had not read the book, I knew enough about it to get excited when she sat down. I mean, this book is a big deal in the YA world. And after she discussed the book, the research, and the thought process that went into this book, I knew I needed to get over myself and read it.
Then Tina and I found out that Disney at ALA was going to be giving out Rose Under Fire, the companion novel to Code Name Verity, and the lovely Dina and those working the booth with her, along with running around trying to get everything worked out, could not stop discussing this book, how awesome not only the book is but how awesome the companion was. I was sold. SOLD. And not just because I talked Tina into standing in line for this book for over an hour. Here is a sign you have the right friends. They will stand in line with you for an hour for an author. That is dedication to a friend, FYI. (While our ALA post is coming, you’ll notice that I did a lot of “WANT THIS” and Tina going “If you feed me, we can stand in line” a lot.)
But yes, thank you Dina for not only talking to the two crazy girls at the front of the line, but actually talking to us about books and things that are coming out to the point that my TBR list got really long. Thankfully Disney had copies available to purchase and I still had room in my suitcase!
Then Elizabeth came and we discussed the breakfast. “Did four minutes seem fast to you?” “YES! It seemed really fast to me, too!” She was lovely and gracious and took a photo with me. I was really glad I stood in line for an hour. (Again, thank you Tina for humoring me!)
I’m so glad I listened to everyone. I read it on a plane from Milwaukee to the Twin Cities and then part of the way from the Twin Cities back to Phoenix. It was so intriguing that I could not put it down. The fact that I had to get off my plane and get on a new one upset me because I was in the middle of a turning point and I couldn’t believe I had to stop. I have enough problems walking; I didn’t think walking and reading at the same time in a busy airport was a good idea.
There is nothing I can say about this book that hasn’t been said, but really you need to read this ASAP. I do need to give a warning that the first 100 or so pages are extremely hard to get through, but once you do there is no turning back.