Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

February 18, 2015

Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity #1
Published by Egmont Press on 6th February 2012
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Pages: 441
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?

I literally have no clue where to start with this review. No clue. It’s fair to say that I love wartime fiction – I don’t read a lot of it, mind – but Code Name Verity reminded me that war fiction isn’t always about soldiers and trenches, but also friendship and loyalty. And my goodness, loyalty is important in this book.

For me, Code Name Verity was a slow burner, it took a while for me to get totally absorbed in the storyline, but once I did, there really was no going back. It starts with Julie’s confession about the British War Effort to her Nazi captors, but turns into this wonderful tale about her friendship with Maddie. Maddie and Julie’s friendship is probably my most favourite book friendship I’ve read in recent years. In fact, it’s probably second in my all-time favourite book friendships – the first being The Golden Trio from Harry Potter. Loyalty is so important, particularly in friendship, and it’s so excellently portrayed in Code Name Verity – you may not think so straight away, but when you get to the end, you’ll realise just how clever Julie is and how much she values her loyalty to both her country and her friends.

When Julie finishes her confession, we’re immediately switched to Maddie’s point of view. By this time, I felt like I already knew Maddie thanks to Julie, and Code Name Verity really picks up the pace due to Maddie’s sudden involvement with the French Resistance. It all builds up to this incredibly explosive ending which nearly had me in tears and really does highlight how loyal Julie and Maddie were to one another.

Code Name Verity may not be totally historically accurate, but Wein does the most incredible job of transporting you to wherever Maddie and Julie are. It’s impossible to read Code Name Verity without getting emotionally attached to all the characters this book holds. It’s easily a must-read for any fan of young adult.