Thursday, November 13, 2014

Code Name Verity

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity, Book 1
Number of Pages: 339
Date Read: 11/13/14
Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II

Synopsis (Found on

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? 

My Review:
While I did enjoy this book it wasn't what I expected. 

The book is in two parts: in the spy Verity's pov for half the book then in the pov of Maddie the pilot. Basically what happens is that Maddie is flying Verity to France and their plane gets shot at and is damaged. So Verity jumps out of the plane and Maddie tries to land it but ends up crashing the plane, stranding her in France. On her mission Verity is caught and brought to a Nazi prison in France where she is tortured and then makes a deal with the commander to write her "confession" in which she will give information that the Nazi's want in exchange for a possibility of staying alive. So Verity's part of the book is her writing basically the story of her and Maddie's friendship while including the information the Nazi's want to know. In Maddie's section, she is also writing but its more like keeping a journal. She writes what is happening to her and where she is staying while she is in France. She writes of how the French resistance tries to get her back to England, how she helps them and how she wants to save Verity. 

At first I was very confused when reading Verity's part because she was writing her "confession" for the Nazi's in Maddie's pov. There were parts of the chapter where she wrote in the first person, usually when she was writing about what was happening to her in the prison and about the Nazi commander and guards she came into contact with everyday. For awhile I was confused as to who Maddie was, if she was Maddie and if she was then why was she writing about herself in the third person. Once I figured out she was not Maddie, things got clearer. However when she introduces herself into the confession she does write about herself in the third person. She waits awhile to introduce herself and explains how Maddie became a pilot for the war. She includes dialogue and history that made me wonder how she knew about the things she was writing about unless Maddie told her and I doubt she went into such detail like what Verity was writing about. So I concluded that she was exaggerating. I did become a bit bored with her pov when she was writing about Maddie because I wanted to know more about her history which she briefly talked about. I She didn't go much into detail about her job or missions which I was interested in reading about. There wasn't much action in her "confession". The action was when she was writing about the present. 

I did like Verity though. She was extremely brave to accept the risks of being a spy. She was quick thinking, calculating, able to appear calm in dangerous situations and she seems generally happy with her work. She was very fun loving, sassy, charming and a pip. While in the prison she was snarky to the Nazi's, she took risks, she played pranks even if she was going to get hit for it and she backtalked. She is the kind of character where nothing gets past her and she takes every opportunity to make situations go in her favor as much as they can. She is also a smooth talker. She is kind, caring and loving to the people close to her. I liked her a lot.

Maddie's pov was good too and it had a lot more action and suspense because she was writing about what was happening to her in the present day, in occupied France. Maddie wasn't supposed to be in France so she had to go into hiding and she made connections with the french resistance, who she helped. I also liked Maddie. She is very reserved. not at all a risk taker like Verity but she did love to fly planes. She is also a mechanic and worked on motorbikes and planes. She jumped at the chance to get her pilot's license and worked hard to get to the point where she ferried planes, cargo and people from one destination to the other. She is also very good with directions and maps. She is the total opposite of Verity, but in a good way because they kind of balance each other out. I liked her alot too. 

What this story is really about is an unlikely friendship between two girls in a time when then world was at war. Its a beautiful story of how in all the ugliness of war, two people have a beautiful friendship and a fierce love for each other. Both Verity and Maddie loved each other a great deal and were best friends, so much so that they would do anything and the unthinkable for each other. 


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