Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two.We are a sensational team.

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1) Details

TitleCode Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2012
PublisherEgmont Press
ISBN1405258217
ISBN-139781405258210
Number of pages441 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical Fiction, Young Adult, Historical, Fiction, War, World War II

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1) Review

  • Katie Montgomery
    February 4, 2012
    Page 2: DAMN this book is good.Page 25: GODDAMN this book is good.Page 60: This may be the best WW II novel I've ever read. EVER. SUCK IT, HEMINGWAY.Page 68: Crying.Page 70: Laughing.Page 113: Biting freshly manicured fingernails to smithereens DAMNIT WEIN I PAID FORTY DOLLARS FOR THESE NAILS.Page 150: Okay, so, I have to pee, but I really don't want to have to stop reading. This could get uncomfortable.Page 200: *THUMP* "Um, Katie, you OK up there?" "... It's cool. I just fell out of bed."Page Page 2: DAMN this book is good.Page 25: GODDAMN this book is good.Page 60: This may be the best WW II novel I've ever read. EVER. SUCK IT, HEMINGWAY.Page 68: Crying.Page 70: Laughing.Page 113: Biting freshly manicured fingernails to smithereens DAMNIT WEIN I PAID FORTY DOLLARS FOR THESE NAILS.Page 150: Okay, so, I have to pee, but I really don't want to have to stop reading. This could get uncomfortable.Page 200: *THUMP* "Um, Katie, you OK up there?" "... It's cool. I just fell out of bed."Page 233: *THUMP* "Um, did you just ...?" "... Yeah, again. Shut up."(I read the rest of the book over the course of the evening and since I am not pro-spoiler I will not continue with the emotional roller coaster except to say that there was one.)(Also, READ THIS BOOK. IT IS TRULY, TRULY SPECIAL.)PS - Watch for a Maximum Shelf issue from Shelf Awareness on this title ;)
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  • Emily May
    February 14, 2012
    I have a feeling I'm not going to be very popular by posting this review, everyone seems to love this book so far and I feel more disappointed in myself and my tastes than the novel or the author. Code Name Verity is one of those books that are the reason why I created the shelf its-me-not-you. I mentioned this very recently in my review of The Book Of Blood And Shadow and it is also similar to the experience I had trying to read The Book Thief and Feed. I just found 90% of the book long-winded I have a feeling I'm not going to be very popular by posting this review, everyone seems to love this book so far and I feel more disappointed in myself and my tastes than the novel or the author. Code Name Verity is one of those books that are the reason why I created the shelf its-me-not-you. I mentioned this very recently in my review of The Book Of Blood And Shadow and it is also similar to the experience I had trying to read The Book Thief and Feed. I just found 90% of the book long-winded and unnecessary.The novel opens where the narrator has been captured by the Nazi opposition during WWII. She is given paper to tell her story and she does so through the eyes of her friend Maddie. Different, definitely. Maddie's story is told in various anecdotes, a technique I've already failed to appreciate in The Book Thief but I suppose the intention was to subtly build up a picture of both girls' pasts and their friendship. This book is not very plot-focused or fast-paced, it's about conversations and people and female pilots during the second world war, which would all have been great if it had been balanced out with a touch of drama.I cannot tell you just how much I wanted to like this. It's about women's involvement in the war and us Northern girls - two topics that don't get nearly enough press. But, for me, there was just too big a focus on piloting and aircraft and I'm sorry but I struggled to care. If you read the author's note at the end she will tell you that this book is actually meant to be about pilots:"This book started off rather simply as a portrait of an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot. Being a woman and a pilot myself, I wanted to explore the possibilities that would have been open to me during the second world war."And not enough else was brought in. There's only so many descriptions of a pilot's job I can sit through before I start to snooze, each to their own but flying planes has never been an interest of mine. The best parts of this book were the touching ending and the fact that the narrator is delightfully unreliable (I love them, I do! Eugenides, I miss you...) but I needed more. All I really want is for a book to rouse some passion in me, whether it be excitement, sadness, anger even... I felt nothing.
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  • Maggie Stiefvater
    March 20, 2012
    I’ll confess right up front that I’m not usually a big historical fiction fan. I realize this seems somewhat hypocritical of me, as I was a history major in college and adore history, but a lot of times, I find historical fiction more impenetrable than a primary source document. The characters either don’t feel like real people to me, or they feel like modern people to me. I get distracted by historical info-dumps and bored by epic scale machinations. Basically, I like my historical fiction very I’ll confess right up front that I’m not usually a big historical fiction fan. I realize this seems somewhat hypocritical of me, as I was a history major in college and adore history, but a lot of times, I find historical fiction more impenetrable than a primary source document. The characters either don’t feel like real people to me, or they feel like modern people to me. I get distracted by historical info-dumps and bored by epic scale machinations. Basically, I like my historical fiction very personal and very intimate. So when I got sent a copy of Code Name Verity, I thought, okay. I’ll read twenty pages and then I’ll give it to my sister. But my sister has not yet gotten this book, because I don’t want to let it out of my house yet. I adored it. 1. First of all, I believe it. The people feel like real people to me, and the details feel like real details. ARE they real details? Possibly not. We all slip up on our research sometimes, but man, this stuff feels genuine. The main character’s best friend is a pilot, and that part I knew was real even before I read that Elizabeth Wein had a pilot's license. I could feel the real-life love and knowledge of flying seeping through the pages. It was grand.2. It doesn’t feel like anything I’ve read before — certainly not in YA. Not just in genre or in subject matter, but just . . . the characters are unique and specific people and the situations they’re in are unique and specific. It feels like I looked through a tiny window into a real life, and that’s just not something you can cut and paste. 3. As with all my favorite books, it rewards the careful reader. If an author can make me gasp once, it’s likely that novel is ending up on my favorites shelf. If an author can make me gasp THREE TIMES, either the author is making me read their novel underwater or it’s really cleverly done. This one’s really cleverly done. It was a three-gasper. When was the last time I read a three gasper? I don’t remember. Maybe when I read THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST underwater . . . Now, that said, CODE NAME VERITY is not a fast read. If you go into it expecting to whip through it in an evening or even two, you’re not doing it justice. Give the characters some time to infest your heart.4. It’s hard, but not harrowing. This is worth pointing out, because the central premise is that the narrator has been shot down over occupied France and is now being tortured for her confession. It could be awful. Sort of like BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, which I also loved, but would never read again because of how hard it was. This book, on the other hand — not only does it have so many lovely and sweeping moments, but it’s also surprisingly funny. I laughed out loud several times. Thought when I tried to explain to Lover why I was laughing, I invariably failed. LOVER: I thought you said she was being tortured? ME: Yeah, but, the Hitler line, it . . . never mind. 5. It stuck with me. This, to me, is the Holy Grail of novels. I love some novels and forget them the moment they’re out of my sight. Other novels I love and then they become part of me for days or weeks or forever. I will be reminded of them at the strangest moments. CODE NAME VERITY does more than stick with me. It haunts me. I just can’t recommend it enough. I can’t even make this recommendation funny. I love it too much.
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  • Rick Riordan
    December 20, 2013
    My final foray into World War II territory (for now, anyway) is Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, a young adult novel which really defies description, but I'll try. At its heart, Code Name Verity is the story of two young British women, Maddie and Queenie (or Julie), who undertake a secret mission behind enemy lines in Occupied France in 1943. The novel begins as a confession being written by Queenie while being held as a prisoner of the Gestapo. Clearly, her mission has gone terribly wrong. Qu My final foray into World War II territory (for now, anyway) is Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, a young adult novel which really defies description, but I'll try. At its heart, Code Name Verity is the story of two young British women, Maddie and Queenie (or Julie), who undertake a secret mission behind enemy lines in Occupied France in 1943. The novel begins as a confession being written by Queenie while being held as a prisoner of the Gestapo. Clearly, her mission has gone terribly wrong. Queenie has been captured, tortured, and forced to write her story for her interrogators, and while that story is fiercely compelling in itself, the more we read, the more we begin to sense that there is more to Queenie and her mission that we are being told. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that there are games within games being played here. The whole experience for the reader parallels what the characters are feeling. Who is telling the truth? Whom can we trust? Who is an agent, a double-agent, a collaborator, a spy? Wein clearly knows her subject matter, whether it is airplanes (the author is a pilot) or life during World War II. Her characters are so real they leap off the page. Maddie and Julie embody courage, pluck and humor even in the darkest of circumstances. By turns heartrendingly sad and fiercely uplifting, Code Name Verity is the best YA book I've read in a long, long time. If you like historical fiction, or spy thrillers, or just books that constantly surprise you with, "OH MY GOD, THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON???" moments, you should really read this. (I include both versions of the US cover, as it has changed. Which do you like best?)
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  • Maggie
    January 30, 2012
    Do you remember when The English Patient came out? Or rather, do you remember when the Seinfeld episode about The English Patient came out? (Elaine goes to see it and HATES it, and is either shunned or dragged back to the theater to rewatch because everyone else loves it. She ends up getting sent to Tunisia by her boss, J. Peterman, because the movie was filmed there. Cameo by Holly the waitress/witch from True Blood playing a waitress.)I'm usually Elaine in these situations, so I worried a litt Do you remember when The English Patient came out? Or rather, do you remember when the Seinfeld episode about The English Patient came out? (Elaine goes to see it and HATES it, and is either shunned or dragged back to the theater to rewatch because everyone else loves it. She ends up getting sent to Tunisia by her boss, J. Peterman, because the movie was filmed there. Cameo by Holly the waitress/witch from True Blood playing a waitress.)I'm usually Elaine in these situations, so I worried a little bit after reading glowing review after glowing review of Code Name Verity. However, this book held my attention from the beginning, and I want to send all the Elaines to Ormaie for inspiration.*Something that I see authors and filmmakers struggle with is how to portray a strong, kick-ass female who can hang with the boys and still retain her femininity. One way is to sexualize them a la Angelina Jolie, and another way is to claim they are the fiercest assassin of all time and then have them fawn over pretty dresses. See, she's tough but girly! Yes, I read Throne of Glass just before Code Name Verity. Elizabeth Wein, however, makes it look so simple with her portrayal of Queenie. Little details like neatly arranged hairpins and well maintained fingernails say so much more than a ball gown, and it keeps you within the context of the story.Speaking of the story, it's set during World War II when most of the men are off fighting. Still, given the current state of YA, I fully expected a love triangle to somehow get shoehorned in. I did get a love story, but not the one I dreaded/expected."It's like being in love, discovering your best friend."The friendship between Queenie and Maddie, two people from different backgrounds who wouldn't have met under ordinary circumstances, is one that I loved reading. It's the bond between two soldiers who contribute to the war effort in their different ways, whether it's aviation or language proficiency. The story jumps from present to past, but I loved seeing how their relationship evolved. One discussion that struck a nerve with me was when early in their friendship, they talk about their fears. In your 20s, the looming milestone is 30. When people asked me what I was going to do for 30, I would say, "Ugh, kill myself!" It's the vanity and arrogance of youth, of privilege, of safety. Queenie is the same, until that privilege is no longer in her control. She says,"I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can't believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old."Queenie is one of my favorite characters ever, up there with Evanjalin from Finnikin of the Rock. Her intelligence and boldness comes through the page, and Wein's writing exemplifies the principle of "show, don't tell." I loved this story of war, camaraderie, and sacrifice. I loved Queenie's mother, who left the windows open in her house in the hope that her children would be home soon, because this is also a story about faith. Queenie and Maddie have to have faith in each other and faith in the strangers on whose help they depend. This was one of my favorite books of 2012, and one I highly recommend. I have told the truth.Rating: 5/5 stars.This review appears on Young Adult Anonymous.--*No Elaines were harmed in the writing of this review.
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  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
    March 5, 2012
    Reviewing this book feels much like walking through a minefield. (Not that I know what that feels like, but I can imagine, you know.) On the one hand, I can’t reveal too much of the plot. I can’t reveal almost anything, really, lest I ruin the experience for you guys. On the other hand, I have to write just enough to make you want to pick this book up because it’s one you don’t want to miss. Trust me. I suppose I could just point you to Maggie Stiefvater’s wonderful review and leave it to her to Reviewing this book feels much like walking through a minefield. (Not that I know what that feels like, but I can imagine, you know.) On the one hand, I can’t reveal too much of the plot. I can’t reveal almost anything, really, lest I ruin the experience for you guys. On the other hand, I have to write just enough to make you want to pick this book up because it’s one you don’t want to miss. Trust me. I suppose I could just point you to Maggie Stiefvater’s wonderful review and leave it to her to convince you, but I’m not that much of a coward. *coughs* I just did that! *coughs*So here goes nothing… I don’t normally read historical fiction unless it’s highly recommended. Code Name Verity was, directly or indirectly, recommended to me by two of my trusted friends, Chachic and Jo, and, as I already mentioned, my favorite young adult author Maggie Stiefvater. And of course they were right. Code Name Verity is a story about two best friends, Maddie and Queenie, fighting in World War II. They probably never would have met in peacetime, as they come from entirely different circles of society: Queenie is Scottish royalty who grew up in a castle, while Maddie is a bike shop owner’s granddaughter. That didn’t stop them from becoming best friends while serving together in WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), and staying close even when the war took them in different directions. All Maddie ever wanted was to fly airplanes. She was in training before the war and when the war started, she waited patiently for them to accept female pilots, which eventually they did. Queenie’s talents lie elsewhere: she is fluent in both German and French and able to momentarily slip into any role, be herself one second, and someone entirely different the next. Although these two have very little in common on the surface, deep down they are both incredibly strong, intelligent and compassionate women. But for me, the most fascinating character was Queenie’s capturer, Hauptsturmfürer von Linden. He starts as pure evil, of course, but as the story progresses, we are offered small details of his life that give him an entirely different face, one that is complex and multi-layered and that causes the reader to be just as conflicted as Queenie. I don’t know what I expected, but he just looked like anybody - like the sort of chap who would come into the shop and buy a motorbike for his lad’s 16th birthday – like your headmaster.Our story starts when Queenie gets captured by the Gestapo in France. Upon breaking her with torture and turning her into a collaborator, von Linden allows her to write down the events that led her to his cruel hands, and her written testimony is what we are given. The narrative itself takes some getting used to. Queenie tells her present story in first person, but switches to third person and focuses on Maddie every time she talks about the past. It was a little strange at first, having the narrator talk about herself in third person, but I soon realized that it was an excellent way for Wein to help her readers adapt to constant alternations between the past and the present. Every once in a while you know that you’ve stumbled upon a classic. Code Name Verity might have been published in 2012, but there is no doubt in my mind that it will endure the test of time. It has the weight (although not quite the genius) of The Book Thief. I'm sure it will receive awards and critical acclaim. Also posted at The Nocturnal Library
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  • Jo
    January 23, 2012
    A note: This review is going to be a bit vague because I really, really, reallyreally don’t want to spoil this book for anyone. Because oh my gosh….A note on the note: This review really is going to be vague unlike all my other ‘vague’ reviews which go on for about a year. The first thing I did after I finished reading this book was to pick up my phone and text my best friend, who I have known since I was eleven and has been there through every single one of my problems and ill-advised fringes, A note: This review is going to be a bit vague because I really, really, reallyreally don’t want to spoil this book for anyone. Because oh my gosh….A note on the note: This review really is going to be vague unlike all my other ‘vague’ reviews which go on for about a year. The first thing I did after I finished reading this book was to pick up my phone and text my best friend, who I have known since I was eleven and has been there through every single one of my problems and ill-advised fringes, and tell her that I loved her.The second thing I did after I finished reading this book was flip back to the beginning and start reading it again. I don’t mind admitting that it took me and this book a while to really get going.. The way this book was written with all the capital letters bothered me and the changing in perspectives and everything really confused me. It took me a good 100 pages to get into but seeing as this book is over 400 pages long; that was absolutely fine.And after those first 100 pages, I learnt the truth and that is: This book is fantastic.I knew I’d love it when I was noseying at the wonderful Chachic’s status updates and then I read the synopsis.Spies? Pilots? Codes? Secrets? History? Best friends? Mancunians?! These are a few of my favourite things…I loved the setting. I loved the plot. I loved the era. And the twists absolutely threw me (although, I did have the smallest of small inklings of one thing but that’s only because I have a clever dad who eats history books for breakfast and I accidentally asked a question that got made me put a few things together…)The twist and the ending…. I just can’t even think about them without jibbering.Code Name Verity is The Usual Suspects of YA literature.Like I said above, the second thing I did after I finished reading this book was to go back to the beginning and read over certain parts again. I know that this book will be one of those books that will get better and better every time I read it.I loved Verity. I loved Maddie. They were real girls. They laugh, they cry, they flirt with boys, they gossip, they’re loyal, they fly planes, they can land planes, they can speak different languages, they can crack codes, they can do the unthinkable, they do the right thing. I loved that, with Maddie and Verity, Ms Wein showed that you can be strong, you can be brave, you can be good at what you do, you can be the best at what you do and you can do all this without sacrificing your femininity and/or becoming a passive-aggressive “message”. There was never a sense that these ladies did what they did in a “Look! Look! We can do it too. We’re just as good as boys!” and because they had something to prove.They were such rich and beautiful characters and I loved, loved, loved them both so dearly. And, anyway, boys didn’t even get a look in. They wouldn’t be able to keep up with any of the girls in this book.Pffft.;-)The phrase “Careless talk costs lives” is mentioned frequently in this book and I couldn’t help but be reminded of this poster:[Here!]Also, the fact that that I own that very poster [bought from the Imperial War Museum North, I’ve still not been to the London one, or the Churchill War Rooms, yet… one day :) ] and it is hanging up on my bedroom wall….that helped too. So that’s it. That’s my review. It doesn’t do this book justice in the slightest but it’s the best that I can do.Arm yourself with tissues, read this book, prepare to be amazed and always fly high. Read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog here.
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  • jo
    December 5, 2012
    this book. everyone on goodreads, stymied by the impossible task of saying anything about what happens in this book without giving away the entirety of it, sputters and stutters and eventually says, READ IT. read it read it read it readit readit readitreaditreadit PLEASE READ ITthere's moira's lovely review but most of it is blacked out. read it for the enthusiasm and sense of wonderment. come back to it after you've read the book and click the spoiler link so you can have the book explained to this book. everyone on goodreads, stymied by the impossible task of saying anything about what happens in this book without giving away the entirety of it, sputters and stutters and eventually says, READ IT. read it read it read it readit readit readitreaditreadit PLEASE READ ITthere's moira's lovely review but most of it is blacked out. read it for the enthusiasm and sense of wonderment. come back to it after you've read the book and click the spoiler link so you can have the book explained to you in case you missed something (you won't have missed anything).ten things about this book1. it's like nothing i've ever read. 2. it's about war, torture, weapons, airplanes, piloting, motorcycles, and lots of mechanical things and it's entirely staffed by women. 3. you won't understand how on earth elizabeth wein could possibly have come up with something like this and you will worship her with abandon until you read the author's note at the end (don't read it until you finish!), at which point you will still worship her but at least you will have a sense of how she came up with this. 4. you won't know this is the reason, but the fact that this is a story of women that's also a story of war, torture, weapons, airplanes, piloting, motorcycles, and lots of mechanical things will keep you off balance the whole time. this is not what books with women characters look like. it doesn't compute. 5. it's genius plotting and genius writing and genius heart.6. it's about women loving each other fiercely with a love you wish you had or had had or could have right now because you need it.7. it's about pain and hardship but it's incredibly tender.8. it sings. 9. it's a slow read. read it slowly. as maggie stiefvater says, "give the characters some time to infest your heart."10. it's not ya, or i don't understand the ya category at all. here's my theory: someone decided it was ya because it's about young (not teen: young) women (instead of, you know, men). or because EW writes ya. or because there are no profanities, no sex, and no drugs. or all of the above. 11. if historical fiction bores you, get over it, this one time (i'm not crazy about it either, in fact i avoid it like the plague). 12. thank you, elizabeth wein, you should have gotten first prize.
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  • Marie Lu
    August 12, 2012
    One of two books this year to make me cry--I mean, tears-pouring-down-my-face cry. Queenie and Maddie are the best character duo ever. Oh god, my heart still hurts.
  • Jen
    May 24, 2015
    This is ultimately a story of friendship, love and loyalty. Two secret agents whom have become best friends. One an interrogator, Verity; the other, a pilot, Kittyhawk. Their mission to German occupied France goes awry and Kittyhawk is forced to make a crash landing and Verity has to parachute out. They become separated. The 1st half of the story is told by Verity who has been captured by the Nazis and is armed with a pencil and paper forced to disclose codes. What becomes her ‘dissertation of t This is ultimately a story of friendship, love and loyalty. Two secret agents whom have become best friends. One an interrogator, Verity; the other, a pilot, Kittyhawk. Their mission to German occupied France goes awry and Kittyhawk is forced to make a crash landing and Verity has to parachute out. They become separated. The 1st half of the story is told by Verity who has been captured by the Nazis and is armed with a pencil and paper forced to disclose codes. What becomes her ‘dissertation of treason’ is a narrative of how the 2 friends met and the value of that friendship. The 2nd half of the story is told by Kittyhawk and her own ordeal as she was hidden by the french resistance and sought information that Verity was still alive. What an amazing story - heartbreaking and emotional, characters so believable it’s difficult to believe this is a work of fiction. Wein weaves a powerful WWII story about war, friendship and the extremes one will go to for another. Thank you, Thank you Angela M, my GR friend, who recommended I get to this right away! I’m so glad I did. This one is a 5 ★.
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  • karen
    January 27, 2014
    i loved this book, don't get me wrong. it has great characters and is well-researched and detailed and every scene comes alive and pops with tension and it also has all that slippery writing that i really appreciate. but how fans are practically burning effigies of veronica roth for the feels she made them feel or whatever, while this book is Beloved By All is beyond me. this book definitely has more problematic feels.but - a great book, which will not be ruined by me with a more detailed review i loved this book, don't get me wrong. it has great characters and is well-researched and detailed and every scene comes alive and pops with tension and it also has all that slippery writing that i really appreciate. but how fans are practically burning effigies of veronica roth for the feels she made them feel or whatever, while this book is Beloved By All is beyond me. this book definitely has more problematic feels.but - a great book, which will not be ruined by me with a more detailed review; careless talk costs lives and all...
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  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    August 1, 2014
    What an absolutely incredible book. I'm honestly speechless. Video review to come.
  • Tatiana
    February 12, 2012
    I am quite surprised this novel got as many 5-star reviews as it did, because this book requires its reader to have a fair amount of interest in piloting, even before he/she can start appreciating the writing itself. In short, the things that Code Name Verity is about - pilots, planes, radios, engineering, war - are the things I evidently have no interest in. Or, alternatively, it's written in a not very engaging way. Surprised this is so well received, very surprised.
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  • TheBookSmugglers
    July 17, 2011
    1943, England and France. Maddie and her best friend Queenie (“Verity”) are a sensational team, a pair of unlikely best friends. One: an English commoner, a pilot for the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) with a passion for flying and a penchant for mechanics. Two: a Scottish aristocrat, a spy with a way with words, working with the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Both: doing their part for the British War Effort.No. No, no, no. Wait a minute. I am doing this wrong. Let me start again.It starts 1943, England and France. Maddie and her best friend Queenie (“Verity”) are a sensational team, a pair of unlikely best friends. One: an English commoner, a pilot for the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) with a passion for flying and a penchant for mechanics. Two: a Scottish aristocrat, a spy with a way with words, working with the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Both: doing their part for the British War Effort.No. No, no, no. Wait a minute. I am doing this wrong. Let me start again.It starts with a confession: “I AM A COWARD”. And it comes from a female spy captured by the Gestapo in France. Under torture, she caved in and spat out codes and airfields locations. She will do anything, anything to avoid being interrogated again by SS von Linden and this means coughing up everything she knows about the British War Effort. But her story starts with Maddie, the pilot who brought her here and in telling Maddie’ story – and eventually her own – she hopes to buy a few more weeks of life. Any life is better than no life even if she knows she will be killed in the end. She does it for clothes – of all things – and because she can’t cope. She is the worst of all people in time of war: a collaborator.Her story mixes first person and third person narratives. The first comes with the immediate horror, the guilt, the fear, the trapped-in -a–cell-with-her-torturers-observing-her, no food, no sleep, her ankles tightly bound to the chair, an iron rail tied against her spine and the certainty that her best friend is dead and soon so will she be.The latter is her best friend’s Maddie’s story and how she became a pilot with the ATA, how they met, how they became friends and everything about their friendship including who they met and how they became part of the War Effort which involve some of the secrets the Nazis are not supposed to know.And so, the Scottish spy tells the truth.If I were writing this review on paper it would be smeared all over because of my tears. I haven’t stopped crying since I finished reading this book a few hours ago.This is an amazing story and it feels like it was written especially for me. It features so many of my favourite things: it is an epistolary novel and I love them. I also happen to love books with unreliable narrators and there is always a degree of unreliability when it comes to the narrator of an epistolary novel but a spy narrating a story under duress? That has got to be the most elemental of unreliable narrators and as such, how much of her confession is really the truth?All of it? Parts of it? None of it?When she describes her torture, her bruises, her broken heart, her fear and her guilt, I believe she is telling the truth with all my heart. I believe her and I understand her. I expect I would crumble under torture and no one can ever convince me that a person who caves in under torture is a spineless coward. On the other side of the spectrum, I don’t want her to be telling the truth either. Such a bright, effusive, clever young woman, hand-picked to be a spy? I want her to be brave – like the French girl next door to her who is tortured every single day and hasn’t said a word. Most of all, I just really want her to be cleverer than the horrible people interrogating her. But how much of that is an impossible expectation based on unfair standards? This is a great source of conflict and this book offers a great opportunity for an examination of bravery, cowardice and patriotism. How impacting is this line? “The warmth and dignity of my flannel skirt and woolly jumper are worth far more to me now than patriotism or integrity.”On top of this, this is also a book about writing (because Verity is in effect writing a novel when she is writing her confession), about the love for reading, about the Second World War, the roles women could play at the time and also: PERIL, SUSPENCE AND SPIES!! It is all SO CLEVER, it actually reminded me of Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen Thief’s books. That is all I am going to say on the subject because saying more is to spoil the story and this to me, would be unforgivable.Above all though, Code Name Verity is about its two main characters, two incredible women (I LOVE them. I.LOVE.THEM) and the friendship they had – they are indeed sensational and I wish I could tell you how or why but I can’t really tell you more about Verity without stealing her thunder. This too, would be unforgivable. It also features one of the best lines about friendship I have ever read, a line that is so simple and so spot on and so true when it came to these two characters, it made me start crying from that moment on: “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”Isn’t it just?Granted that there was a degree of suspension of disbelief required: I mean, would the Gestapo be so patient with the manner that “Verity” has chosen to write her confession? At times, I also felt the language was perhaps too modern…Do I really care about those? No, I don’t. When a story is this good, the characters so vivid you wish they were real people, the writing so gripping you feel like your heart is being torn out of your chest? That’s the stuff that reminds me how wonderful reading can be.Code Name Verity is a sensational book. Hands down my favourite read so far this year and already on my top 10 of 2012.One last thing: I feel I need to pass on the kind advice I received before I started reading it. If you decide to read this book, keep a box of tissues at hand. There will be tears, and they will be sad ones. But it’s worth it, it is SO worth it.
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  • Moira Russell
    March 15, 2012
    Wow, I'm still pretty gutted hours after finishing it. I don't really know if I can write a coherent review here; I might try later. I mainly want to go out and press this on complete strangers. Read it, now, and for GOD'S SAKE don't let anyone spoil you about any aspect of the plot. There are no kidding about four or five major plot twists, with no cheating -- they're all carefully foreshadowed and clues are dropped (there's even an in-character reference to this right at the beginning!) and it Wow, I'm still pretty gutted hours after finishing it. I don't really know if I can write a coherent review here; I might try later. I mainly want to go out and press this on complete strangers. Read it, now, and for GOD'S SAKE don't let anyone spoil you about any aspect of the plot. There are no kidding about four or five major plot twists, with no cheating -- they're all carefully foreshadowed and clues are dropped (there's even an in-character reference to this right at the beginning!) and it's just amazing. (view spoiler)[For me these were: the revelation that "Queenie" is Julie; that Maddie isn't dead; that Julie and Anna came up with the plan; the true nature of the real op; and of course, Maddie's shooting Julie, which is BLATANTLY spelled out about halfway through, only of course you can't know til you reach the end. Honourable mention, Julie's real occupation, and her great-aunt. -- One of the very few dropped threads was Paul -- he was so repulsive I figured he was a traitor, but no, he was just....really repulsive. It felt like his character was built up for no payoff. Everything else was brilliant and amazing.) (hide spoiler)]If it doesn't sound too completely off, this book is almost more like what I wanted Blackout/All Clear to be -- not time travel and all that of course, but the idea of the smallest action having reverberations through time, of "small" daily heroism being just as good as great big theatrical famous heroism, or when those two kinds of heroism even come together and are the same thing -- the "miracle of the little ships" at Dunkirk for Willis, and....well here I have the same problem as everyone else, that you can't talk about specific events in this book because that will really spoil the reading experience. (view spoiler)[I'll just say for me it wasn't so much Maddie shooting Julie -- that was a terrible moment for both of them -- but when she hears the Jamaican rear gunner praising his dead friend for keeping the plane "flying straight and level so the rest of us could bail out after we were hit," and she realizes she did that for Julie -- "But I didn't feel heroic when I did it." But she was. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Phrynne
    August 18, 2015
    It took me a while to get around to this book. I knew lots of people loved it but World War 2 is not my favourite historical period to read about, especially yet another YA book set at that time. Now I wish I had read it much sooner - it is a beautiful story about amazing characters and it leaves you at the end with a major lump in the throat and quite a few soggy tissues.I was very taken too with the way the author chose to tell the tale, first one character telling events her way and then the It took me a while to get around to this book. I knew lots of people loved it but World War 2 is not my favourite historical period to read about, especially yet another YA book set at that time. Now I wish I had read it much sooner - it is a beautiful story about amazing characters and it leaves you at the end with a major lump in the throat and quite a few soggy tissues.I was very taken too with the way the author chose to tell the tale, first one character telling events her way and then the other with her different angle. The culmination of course was heart breaking but honest. We all love happy endings but there were not many of them in that war.What a great book! I am going to need a little breathing space before I start my next.
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  • B the BookAddict
    March 15, 2014
    There have been a couple of negative reviews which have made me want to stab myself in the eyes in frustration. WERE THEY NOT THINKING WHEN THEY READ THIS BOOK, maybe watching tv at the same time or maybe they were TEXTING, TWITTER??? Instances used as the basis for this novel actually happened, read the author's notes, have a look at some of the references!Some time later and a lot calmer, I write..."I closed this book feeling I'd met real people that I'd never forget. Code Name Verity's charac There have been a couple of negative reviews which have made me want to stab myself in the eyes in frustration. WERE THEY NOT THINKING WHEN THEY READ THIS BOOK, maybe watching tv at the same time or maybe they were TEXTING, TWITTER??? Instances used as the basis for this novel actually happened, read the author's notes, have a look at some of the references!Some time later and a lot calmer, I write..."I closed this book feeling I'd met real people that I'd never forget. Code Name Verity's characters don't just stick with me - they haunt me." New York Times best-selling author, Maggie Stiefvater Maggie Stiefvater, I am with you - the characters in Code Name Verity will stay with me for a long, long time. For me, this novel was hauntingly real, devastatingly heroic and absolutely unforgettable. I urge everyone, no matter your age or gender, to read this novel. most highly recommended 5★
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  • Maciek
    January 15, 2014
    It takes a lot to impress me in a novel about World War 2, which is the reason why I wasn't mad about this book like 99& of those who read it. Perhaps it is the difference in experiences that divide me and them - I grew up in a country where the war has left a definite mark, and where people still remember it and mourn its victims. You can still find old houses with bullet holes, and every other street has a memorial plague remembering dozens of underground resistance and innocent civilians It takes a lot to impress me in a novel about World War 2, which is the reason why I wasn't mad about this book like 99& of those who read it. Perhaps it is the difference in experiences that divide me and them - I grew up in a country where the war has left a definite mark, and where people still remember it and mourn its victims. You can still find old houses with bullet holes, and every other street has a memorial plague remembering dozens of underground resistance and innocent civilians slaughtered by the Nazis. People leave flowers and candles under these signs; the memory is very much still with us and quite probably will never leave.What can literature tell us about the war which hasn't already been said? Do we need novels about it when there is an abundance of historical accounts, both written and visual? Perhaps I am being unfairly harsh towards novels such as Code Name Verity - after all, it is only a story. I've enjoyed stories set during the war, and written by those who haven't experienced it - such as David Benioff's excellent City of Thieves, which is about two Russian boys who had to perform an impossible task, set during the siege of Leningrad. I thought that it was a rip-roaring yarn, which mixed comedy with drama brilliantly, and while it's obviously fiction it respected both the setting and the events described. So, why was I disappointed in Verity? Perhaps because it's not really a novel about the war; in the afterword, the author admits that the novel started as a portrait of an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, and that since she is also a pilot she wanted to explore the possibilities that would be open for her during the period. There is a major focus on aviation in this book: technical details of the planes, details of a pilot's job, etc. As much as I tried to care, I could only take a little of this trivia before beginning to lose my interest.Then there's the story itself, which concerns two female friends who both serve in the British army: one is a pilot, and the other is a spy. The novel begins with a believable situation: the plane carrying the spy crashes in occupied France, and she is soon captured by the Germans. What follows up, however, quickly becomes unbelievable - essentially, the spy is allowed to write her memoirs as a form of confession to the Nazis, and is allowed to indulge in her personal stories. This Nazi captain is presented as a sophisticated lover of literature (with a touch of cold indifference for the fates of his prisoners thrown in), who allows our spy to essentially write a novel about herself with just a few relevant facts thrown in - she does a pretty good job at keeping a scornful and feisty tone for someone who is supposed to be suffering from direct and indirect torture on a daily basis. The spy also essentially admits to be a con artist and pretend to remember in her notes, which somehow doesn't bother the morally ambiguous villain. The whole plot is staged for the final "twist", but by that time I was so disinterested in both the story and its characters that I long stopped to care.There are a few interesting bits here - a scene where a German pilot who has accidentally crossed the channel is tricked by the British to believe that he's still in occupied France, and convinced to land in their base is suspenseful and well-written. But I simply never bought into the whole rest of the story, which was just too made up to allow me suspend my disbelief. Instead of reading about two fictional English girls and their adventures in aviation during the war, I'd recommend potential readers to read about the Night Witches - an actual, all female regime of the Soviet Air Forces. These women developed a technique of descending low and turning off their engines and silently gliding towards the drop point, with only wind noises to give them away. The Germans nicknamed them "Night Witches" because they likened the noises to the sound made by broomsticks; due to the weight of the bomb and low altitude, the pilots carried no parachutes. This is an actual, true story worth reading about, and perhaps one day someone will turn it into believable fiction.
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  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    November 16, 2012
    This is one of those books that's almost impossible to talk about without revealing plot elements, and that's most enjoyable to discover as you go. So, if you think you'd like a young-adult novel starring two women--one a pilot, one an intelligence officer--in WWII, and you don't like spoilers, you should probably avoid all reviews (mine included) and just read it.Now for the review.Overall, Code Name Verity is an enjoyable book. The story is gripping, with tension and danger throughout--natural This is one of those books that's almost impossible to talk about without revealing plot elements, and that's most enjoyable to discover as you go. So, if you think you'd like a young-adult novel starring two women--one a pilot, one an intelligence officer--in WWII, and you don't like spoilers, you should probably avoid all reviews (mine included) and just read it.Now for the review.Overall, Code Name Verity is an enjoyable book. The story is gripping, with tension and danger throughout--naturally enough, as one of the protagonists spends the book as a Nazi prisoner. The characters are fairly vivid, and I enjoyed reading about a pair of tough, capable women. I was unaware of the role of women pilots in England's Air Transport Auxiliary during the war, and so especially enjoyed reading about Maddie's advancement as a pilot. The author, a pilot herself, does a great job of communicating her love of flight, and her clear knowledge of planes adds verisimilitude. Wartime England and occupied France are both brought to life, and the writing style is adequate without drawing attention to itself.Two problems then. First, I liked the idea of the main characters' friendship better than its depiction; they seem to leap right from getting acquainted to undying sisterhood, with readers missing a step somewhere along the way.Second, there are the myriad problems with the epistolary format. The first 2/3 or so of the book is supposed to be written by Julie, the captured intelligence officer, as a "confession" for her captors. Unreliable narrators are fun and this keeps the reader guessing. But for the premise to work, we must believe that 1) the Nazi captain is such a lover of literature that he doesn't mind that his prisoner's "confession" is actually a novel-length narrative weaving together her own day-to-day life as a prisoner and her best friend's wartime experiences, and 2) despite that, he's too dense to realize that she's not telling the truth--even though the third sentence of her account is "I have always been good at pretending," even though she paints herself as a gutsy con artist throughout and admits to making up details. That's a lot to swallow. I'd figured out much of what Julie was hiding halfway through her narrative--for instance, that she liked the translator much more than she let on--and had a hard time believing someone whose job is getting the truth out of prisoners wouldn't have figured her out too. Wein just does not handle well the tension between an author's need to give hints to the reader of what's really going on, and Julie's need to write a completely convincing document. Interspersing Julie's story with other documents could have arrived at the same result without making both her and her captors look stupid.Maddie narrates the last third, and the premise here doesn't make much sense either--she writes most of it in hiding in France, where if found her writing would endanger not only her but the family sheltering her. The two characters' voices sound alike, and the voice doesn't quite fit either of them: too refined for Maddie the working-class mechanic, not refined enough for the ultra-privileged Julie, and too young for either. (Their voice reminded me of Cassandra Mortmain in I Capture the Castle, and she isn't much like either of them.) In both cases their styles are also too novelistic to be plausible--complete with dialogue, scenes, etc.There are some plot details, too, that don't add up. (view spoiler)[Like, Julie's getting captured because she looked the wrong way when trying to cross a street. It must have been a two-way street, or it wouldn't matter what side of the road cars use in that country, but then, why would she only look one way if she was crossing a two-way street? And then, why are the Allies willing to put so many resources into bombing an empty building? It seemed like the author felt Julie needed to be vindicated somehow, and using her intelligence to destroy the hotel did that. Except, the Nazis can always just requisition another building. So what was the big deal? (hide spoiler)] But, in the end, Code Name Verity is a competent book that I would have enjoyed much more at age 14 than as an adult. It's very young-adult, in everything from pacing to plot elements to the characters' voices, and I wonder why Wein chose that route, given that the protagonists are women in their 20s whose stories would suit an adult book just fine (despite that, they're rather jarringly referred to as "girls" throughout, perhaps to make them seem closer to the intended audience's age).So, do I recommend the book? Maybe. Despite the glowing reviews, I found nothing mindblowing about it. But if you typically enjoy YA and are willing to engage in a lot of suspension of disbelief around the premise, chances are you'll love it.
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  • Melissa
    August 18, 2015
    I took a bit of a risk I think, my very first audio book AND Historical fiction... My most detested of all genres... But I enjoyed it! Just didn't LOVE it like so many others seem to have done.The story is written (or told in this case) by two best friends set in World War 2. The first part of the novel is written by Queenie who is a prisoner of war, caught in France by the gestapo. She is made to write an account of why she is in German occupied France, and of her friendship with Maddie, who wa I took a bit of a risk I think, my very first audio book AND Historical fiction... My most detested of all genres... But I enjoyed it! Just didn't LOVE it like so many others seem to have done.The story is written (or told in this case) by two best friends set in World War 2. The first part of the novel is written by Queenie who is a prisoner of war, caught in France by the gestapo. She is made to write an account of why she is in German occupied France, and of her friendship with Maddie, who was flying the plane that brought her into France. The second part of the book is Maddie's version of events. The first part of the novel written by Queenie is obviously written under duress, and although entertaining, it is not till the second part that it all comes together and the whole truth is revealed.It was a good book. Extremely well written. The characters were written flawlessly and the research that must have gone into this, especially the planes and navigation parts, was amazingly thorough!The audio version itself was impressive. The beautiful Scottish accent of the first narrator was wonderful. I really enjoyed the audio version. I don't think if i read the written version of this book, i would have enjoyed it quite so much. I enjoyed the audio version because I could do other things. Unfortunately I am yet to master housework and reading at the same time so this allows me to do just that. Its funny, when I read a book I can't remember much about where I was when I read it. With this audio version I can remember the EXACT moment of the most pivotal shocking moment of the book - I was unloading the dishwasher and nearly dropped a plate!I really enjoyed how the story came together with the second narrator. Everything started to make more sense and it was extremely interesting. Overall though there were quite a few slower parts but then something really interesting would happen to peak my interest again.It took me a while to get used to listening to a book being read for me. I haven't been read to since I was a child so it was a bit difficult for me to stick with it at first. But as the story started to flow I was all in.I would have liked a little bit of romance. I saw potential there, just to throw a bit in, but nothing really happened. I understand though it was hardly a romantic setting!Overall I really enjoyed it. However I as I said, I didn't LOVE it. But that's not the books fault! Its all me! Its still the highest rating I've ever given a historical fiction before.Between 3.5 and 4 StarsFor more reviews visit my blogwww.booksbabiesbeing.comFind me on twitterwww.twitter.com/BBB_Mel
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  • Chris
    May 28, 2012
    Re-read for July 2016 UC Book Club selectionIt is pleasure to know that some books stay as good as you remember. Now, if you need me I will be the crying mess in the corner that is cursing Hollywood that this hasn't been filmed yet.Old ReviewThere is something lacking in war stories that make it to television. We have great battle epics, such as appear on HBO, and we have the rescue stories that appear everywhere. Understandably the battle epics focus on men; what women appear are wives, girlfri Re-read for July 2016 UC Book Club selectionIt is pleasure to know that some books stay as good as you remember. Now, if you need me I will be the crying mess in the corner that is cursing Hollywood that this hasn't been filmed yet.Old ReviewThere is something lacking in war stories that make it to television. We have great battle epics, such as appear on HBO, and we have the rescue stories that appear everywhere. Understandably the battle epics focus on men; what women appear are wives, girlfriends, mothers, nurses, victims. The rescue stories tend to focus more on women rescuers, possibly to make up for the lack of women in the battle stories. I don’t know. And this is true even when the film is not about WW II. Look at Birdsong, War Horse, Cold Mountain. Yet, women did fight in most, if not all, of the wars. Whether it was as last line of defense, disguised as a man, as spies, in factories, as couriers, as pilots, tank drivers, or snipers; women were fighting in battle long before Congress debated whether or not it should be allowed.I’m not sure why this gets ignored. Perhaps because the unknown stories outweigh the known ones. Perhaps because it disrupts our view of motherhood. Perhaps because being a wireless operator is less glorious than being a fighter pilot. Maybe because the women didn’t want to talk about it. But it’s been known for awhile. Shoot, The Longest Day has a woman Resistance member.Another thing that gets downplayed or ignored is female friendship, which always takes second seat to a romance or, more often, fighting over a man. One woman is always superior, better, than the other.So it is refreshing to read something like this book.I swear if this book doesn’t win some award, I’ll thump someone. I’ll break legs. I’ll hunt awards committees down. I’m tired of watching good authors get passed over for stupid reasons.Now the bookstores will tell you this book is Young Adult. That is a lie. It is a historical novel for anyone (though parents should be warned there is torture). The book relates the experiences of Maddie and Queenie, two young women who joined various British divisions, Aircraft Aux and SOE, during WW II. It starts with Queenie writing as she is imprisoned in occupied France. She has been picked up because she looked the wrong way when crossing the street. The book is told, largely, though first person (the narrative does switch, but the voices are so different), and is a book about friendship as well as a person’s ability to do. The focus is mainly on women, though the men are not depicted as evil or misogynistic. It is such a layered and tight book, and I can’t say why because I don’t want to spoil it. If you are looking for a war torn romance, this isn’t it (a romance is hinted at). But this book. This is a great book. From the first sentence, you are brought in. The characters, in particular Maddie and Queenie, are so real. It is like they are there before. The novel is also, in some ways, a rebuke to those stupid cat fighting television shows because the women help themselves here. Just read it. Okay.P.S. I’ve looked over the negative reviews, and some people do have a point. I will say, however, what they complain about is explained in the second half of the book (and Queenie is tortured for a variety of reasons even as she is writing, though this might have been corrected post ARC).
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  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    August 14, 2014
    A Scottish girl, captured in France during WWII and broken by Nazi torture, begins to write her confession, doling out bits of information to her Nazi captors to motivate them to keep her alive and refrain from further torture. She has been spying for the Allies so her prospects are dim.She tells the tale of her involvement with the British war effort, spiced with bits of information about airplane types and airfield names to keep the Nazis at bay. But somehow her writing tells more about her de A Scottish girl, captured in France during WWII and broken by Nazi torture, begins to write her confession, doling out bits of information to her Nazi captors to motivate them to keep her alive and refrain from further torture. She has been spying for the Allies so her prospects are dim.She tells the tale of her involvement with the British war effort, spiced with bits of information about airplane types and airfield names to keep the Nazis at bay. But somehow her writing tells more about her developing friendship with another British girl, a pilot who (against all rules and regulations for female pilots) flew her to France for this mission. The two girls come from different walks of life and have different talents and interests, but as they are periodically thrown together during the war they find that they are kindred souls.It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.This book also shows so many different faces of heroism, sometimes in heartbreaking ways. It's not an easy or light read--I think I spent the last 50 pages sniffling and wiping my eyes. I can't say it's a perfect book. There are some slow parts where I just wanted the story to kick into a higher gear: We already know what happened so why are we belaboring this part of the past? Move along! And it's non-linear, moving back and forth between the past and the present, and backtracking to tell another character's point of view. I'm all for creative storytelling but I think that particular device has been overused lately. Not everything about the plot is plausible, so there was a little more belief-stretching than I like to have to use in a non SF/Fantasy book. And, of course, lots of wartime angst and misery, although it's handled with a fairly light hand (more older YA level than adult).On the other hand, it's got some really intriguing turns to the plot and a lot of unexpected depth, and some great writing. It's well worth your time; just don't read it when you want something light and fun. It moved me, and it will stick with me.***************Prior post:I just finished this story of two friends, a British woman and a Scottish one, helping with the WWII effort. I'm a quivering bundle of goo; I don't think I can be objective about this book for a day or two. There were a few slow parts and more pain and angst than I usually like in my fiction, but some really wonderful parts to it as well. I'm going to call it 4 stars for now and see how it settles.
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  • Ashley
    March 20, 2012
    I was about ten minutes away from sobbing ugly sobs in a Whole Foods. Luckily, my butt started hurting from the hard chairs up in there, and I moseyed on home to finish the book there. I then proceeded to sob those ugly sobs all by my lonesome for about half an hour. This book was really good but I was very sad after finishing it.I mean, if you're prone to crying at fiction (like I am), just know this book will probably get you.What's great about this book is it's not just about one thing. At th I was about ten minutes away from sobbing ugly sobs in a Whole Foods. Luckily, my butt started hurting from the hard chairs up in there, and I moseyed on home to finish the book there. I then proceeded to sob those ugly sobs all by my lonesome for about half an hour. This book was really good but I was very sad after finishing it.I mean, if you're prone to crying at fiction (like I am), just know this book will probably get you.What's great about this book is it's not just about one thing. At the heart of it, it's about female friendship, but it's also an adventure story. A spy story. A war story. It's a thriller, and it's historical fiction. It's a story about women pilots. And it's a story about what it's like to live in an occupied country during wartime, and a story of what it's like to be a prisoner of war. It's also got a little bit of experimental style going on, and it's very, very smart (perhaps too smart for its own good).I say it's maybe too smart for its own good because a lot of the members of my book club had a hard time understanding what was going on because they weren't used to tricksy books. I had no trouble with it, but I did have a bit of an issue getting super engaged until about a third of the way through, at which point it became riveting.But, this book isn't straightforward, and you should know that. This book is one that you should absolutely stick out if you're wanting to give up on it. It's one of those books where the payoff makes up for everything.This book has been reviewed to death and is nearly universally liked, so I was pretty confident I would like it, too. I even knew it would probably make me cry, and what the general plot was. But I really wasn't prepared at all for what I got.I will read the sequel eventually, but you gotta give me a minute. I'm not ready for that shit.
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  • Chris Horsefield
    March 1, 2017
    Elizabeth Wein has, with consummate skill, written a powerful story about two girls from vastly different social backgrounds who, at the start of World War II are thrown together and quickly became firm friends. Maddie is a working-class girl from Stockport whilst Julie's ancestry goes back to a certain William Wallace who defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.Maddie is a WAAF radio operator who, because she'd learnt to fly in 1938, soon finds herself transferred to t Elizabeth Wein has, with consummate skill, written a powerful story about two girls from vastly different social backgrounds who, at the start of World War II are thrown together and quickly became firm friends. Maddie is a working-class girl from Stockport whilst Julie's ancestry goes back to a certain William Wallace who defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.Maddie is a WAAF radio operator who, because she'd learnt to fly in 1938, soon finds herself transferred to the Air Transport Auxiliary as a ferry pilot whilst Julie, who speaks fluent French and German, is seconded into the Special Operations Executive. Sometime later, with Maddie wrestling with the controls of flak-damaged Lysander, Julie - no, I am not Scottie, Queenie or Lady Julia Lindsay MacKenzie Wallace Beaufort-Stuart; I am simply Julie - parachutes into occupied France.Captured and tortured by the Gestapo - thanks to a snafu before take-off Julie finds herself carrying Maddie's logbook and ATA papers - she becomes a modern day Scheherazade, forced to write a believable report of the organisation, defences and activities of the RAF.A consummate actress with a powerful imagination her manuscript - you're reading her thoughts and her words as she writes them - skillfully merges fact with fiction, embellishing what the Gestapo already know and what they can probably check. As a result their decision whether to have her shot, guillotined, sent to a concentration camp or simply used for medical experiments is, time and time again, delayed.Does Julie survive her interrogation and torture at the Gestapo headquarters in Ormaie? Does Maddie survive the crash? Do either of the girls get back to the UK?Fly the plane, Maddie...As you read Julie's manuscript you'll undoubtedly notice that several phrases and sentences are underlined: this isn't an editorial oversight and they play a critical role in the finale - a finale which is best summed up by the proverb "Revenge is a dish best served cold". Perhaps prophetically those words first appeared almost 100 years earlier, in the French novel 'Mathilde' by Marie Joseph Eugène Sue.And, as SS-Hauptsturmfuher Amadeus von Linden and his colleagues quickly discover, the French maquis are very skilful in ensuring that 'La vengeance se mange très-bien froide'.Fly the plane, Maddie...
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  • Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
    October 3, 2012
    Like everyone else who's reviewed this book, I'm hesitant to say very much about it. So you're getting the review in GIF form that's all the rage right now.Let me be clear: this book deserves SO MUCH BETTER than the review I'm going to give it. I can't believe how many five stars I've been giving lately, but honestly, they all deserve it, and none more so than Code Name Verity and Elizabeth Wein. This book is stunning, and hard, and totally different than anything you will find on the YA bookshe Like everyone else who's reviewed this book, I'm hesitant to say very much about it. So you're getting the review in GIF form that's all the rage right now.Let me be clear: this book deserves SO MUCH BETTER than the review I'm going to give it. I can't believe how many five stars I've been giving lately, but honestly, they all deserve it, and none more so than Code Name Verity and Elizabeth Wein. This book is stunning, and hard, and totally different than anything you will find on the YA bookshelf today, and for that it deserves: You've probably heard about the story: the novel about a British pilot Maddie, and her best friend, the Scottish Agent Verity, a wireless operator during World War II. Verity has been captured by the Nazis and is now being forced to write down everything she knows about air operations and the war effort in the UK. What she weaves is an incredible tale of friendship amidst her torture and suffering. Like, the best, most bad-ass friendship ever. You will seriously be fangirling all over Maddie and Verity like this: Read the rest of this review at Mostly YA Lit
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  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    November 11, 2014
    4.5 KISS ME HARDY StarsLast year The Book Thief was one of my favorite reads. It is a special book that can pretty much tell you how it will end early on and then still break your heart when it actually happens. So too did Code Name Verity have that special magic to take me on a journey to an ending I was sure would come and yet when I got to the conclusion I knew had to happen it surprised me and broken my heart more than I thought it would or could. “I don't recognise any of my emotions any 4.5 KISS ME HARDY StarsLast year The Book Thief was one of my favorite reads. It is a special book that can pretty much tell you how it will end early on and then still break your heart when it actually happens. So too did Code Name Verity have that special magic to take me on a journey to an ending I was sure would come and yet when I got to the conclusion I knew had to happen it surprised me and broken my heart more than I thought it would or could. “I don't recognise any of my emotions any more. There's no such thing as plain joy or grief. It's horror and relief and panic and gratitude all jumbled together.” WWII is such a dark period in our recent history and reading this book from the viewpoint of two women involved in the war I want to believe that I could have been either one of these girls in this situation. I want to think that I would have stood up to play a role, any role available to me as a woman in this era. Both were so strong and brave each in a different way. I loved the friendship that they shared and how each girl made the other stronger and better than she would ever have been without the other. This is really a beautiful story about two friends who would do anything for the other.Verity and Maddie met during the war when they were both just lowly wireless operators and translators. But each is tenacious and quickly they move up in the ranks so to speak. Maddie becoming a pilot and Verity becoming a spy. We meet Verity when she has already been captured by the Gestapo and has decided to sell her story to them for her clothing, a blanket and some paper. She knows that once she is done telling her story they will kill her but this is her last chance to draw out her execution. She decides to write everything from the PoV of her best friend Maddie.You might think that everything would be sad and all doom and gloom. But Verity is remarkably funny and full for life even in her imprisonment, she is a fighter. The way Verity describes the guards holding her in her writings and how she gives them ironic names to make them less scary to her all just add to showing the spark of life in Verity. She is courageous even when she is pretending to be a coward. Von Linden the head officer in charge of Verity’s interrogation is complicated. I hate him as he goes about torturing all of the other prisoners but he seems to have seen something in Verity that impresses him. She has a way of breaching the defenses of those around her. He lets her tell the story the way she wants and sometimes debates with her. It makes you wonder if there wasn’t a war what kind of person he would be, certainly not an interrogator or a sadist but maybe a professor of literature. It made me think how many people wanted to actually be a part of the war and how many played their part so they wouldn’t end up on the other side of the bars. “Nothing like an arcane literary debate with your tyrannical master while you pass the time leading to your execution.” In the end after his fate I find it hard to believe he would have been a bad person if not for the war. He did so many awful things, horrendous things but he is a complicated villain and I really want to believe that if he could have or if he had it to do over again he might have chosen to save Verity himself. There are so many victims in a war on both sides and he is just as much a victim as villain.I don’t know a lot about planes and flying so I didn’t get into some of the more technical aspects of the book but they didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment. I was so wrapped up in Verity’s writing that I was a little distraught when the book shifted to Maddie. Everything slowed down a bit here until we come to the culmination of Verity’s fate. “Don't know how I kept going. You just do. You have to, so you do.” This is historical fiction but it is written in such a great way that so much of it seems like it could have happened. There could have been a Maddie and Verity during WWII and most of the story is incredibly believable. The ending while incredibly emotional was also satisfying in a lot of ways. Please come back soon, the window is always open, fly safely This is a story that will stick with me now that I’m done. It is one that I will replay a few scenes in my head and ponder on them. I will marvel at the fortitude and cleverness of the characters and the lengths that some real people did go to during the WWII to protect others. Those are the characters from the book who will really stick with me, the people who risked everything to help those who had been targeted. I recommend this for anyone who likes WWII history, tragedies or just beautifully told stories.
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  • BrokenTune
    February 4, 2017
    I AM A COWARDI wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing at the Battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. After the ridiculous deal I made with SS-Hauptsturmführer von Lin I AM A COWARDI wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing at the Battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. After the ridiculous deal I made with SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden, I know I am a coward. And I’m going to give you anything you ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely Every Last Detail.This was impressive. I had kept putting off reading Code Name Verity because I had no idea this was a YA novel when I got it, and when I found out that it was, my heart sank.However, despite my reservations and some initial concern about the voice of the narrator, I could hardly put the book down. Sure, there are things you can pick apart, but in the end this was a tough spy story - and very much an adventure story that was engaging both mind and gut. And the latter was utterly wrenched.Maybe it's because I have overdosed a little on Bond recently and a spy thriller from a female perspective was just what I needed as an anti-dote, or maybe it's because Wein takes great care with details without bragging about her research, or maybe it's because it's just nice to read a story about WWII that is not all about patriotism or nationalism or the clear division of good and evil, but this was a nice change of pace from my recent encounters with espionage thrillers.
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  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    March 19, 2013
    I'm going to be upfront with you: I DNF'ed (did not finish) this originally. I sent it back to the library! Half of me reckons I should have left it there. Gosh, I'd be in less PAIN. But, noooo, I borrowed it out again, this time as an audio book. Farewell, sweet innocence and blitheness of heart. I am destroyed. Just kidding. I've never been blithe in my life.The audio book was the best! There were two readers, one for Part I and one for Part II. It's the best way to hear this story. (The amoun I'm going to be upfront with you: I DNF'ed (did not finish) this originally. I sent it back to the library! Half of me reckons I should have left it there. Gosh, I'd be in less PAIN. But, noooo, I borrowed it out again, this time as an audio book. Farewell, sweet innocence and blitheness of heart. I am destroyed. Just kidding. I've never been blithe in my life.The audio book was the best! There were two readers, one for Part I and one for Part II. It's the best way to hear this story. (The amount of times I was tempted to peek at the end...but I couldn't. I have never been tempted to peek before, blogglings! You see what a mess I was?!!) The readers had the best accents ever! Scottish, French, German, English...it was amazing! (It came from Bolinda Publishing, courtesy of my library.)The rest of the book was horrible! And I mean that in the best way possible. Let me put it to you this way: I can handle zombies. I can handle world wars over jewellery. I can even handle unfair treatment of orphans. BUT I CANNOT HANDLE BOOKS ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST. Because, though these stories are fiction, they could be true. The holocaust happened and the Gestapo did horrible things. And the book doesn't have to add in details, because my freakish imagination will put horrible ones in anyway. Am I okay? No, no I'm not, but thanks for asking. The writing is a little slow. Yes, I admit it. Without the audio book, I probably would have skimmed a little. But the details are excellent. It all feels so real! I started to believe that Maddie and "Verity" existed because it was written so convincingly. The authors note brought me down to earth (again, dang it). It's split into 2 parts. The beginning was all about Maddie! That had me miffed. "Verity" was writing, and she only put in snippets about where she was (in the Gestapo building) and what was happening to her (I wanted to know her story!). I got kind of annoyed listening to Maddie's flight career in WWII. I WANTED TO KNOW THE END. Ah, patience, grasshopper. It was an epic build up and so. very. convincing. Part II was written by Maddie. Which of course, left "Verity" in an awful cliff-hanger. I complained to my Goodreads friends. And they laughed at me. No sympathy from that lot. All in all, this is Maddie's and Verity's story. At the beginning I thought it was Maddie's story...but now I know it's both of theirs. It's written in an unbelievably gripping style. It's wickedly wonderful (emphasis on wicked). It's heartbreak (for me) and confusion (for them) all in one. I loved the reality of Verity's character! I mean, heck, she's being tortured by the Gestapo, but she was so real. She wasn't Nerves of Steel or something equally daunting that I could never aspire to. She. was. real. And I loved Maddie and Verity's friendship. It was so sweet and -- gosh, they made a sensational team.(view spoiler)[ I am totally gobsmacked by Julie's death too. I thought she'd come back! I honestly thought she would! Or something....or.... *sobs* I can't believe she didn't come back. But her death was the BEST written thing ever. I am so amazing and awed by this author. Kiss me, Hardy. (hide spoiler)]There are just some books that always stay with you (read: haunt you) and affect you for the day or month or year. CODE NAME VERITY is definitely a 5-star read. It's good storytelling, with a hint of reality, and...okay, okay, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.I'm just going to go lie on my bed and regret the loss of my destroyed soul and feels.
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  • Angela M
    June 30, 2014
    I'm an emotional, sentimental, and idealistic reader. Not in the sense that I want happy endings all the time because most of the books I love are pretty sad and are filled with a lot of loss. In fact many of my favorite books are gut wrenching and have broken my heart. I'm idealistic because I want to read books that are 4 & 5 star reads all of the time. I want to love a book not just like it . I want a book to really get to me in some way. I have to admit that I was not expecting this book I'm an emotional, sentimental, and idealistic reader. Not in the sense that I want happy endings all the time because most of the books I love are pretty sad and are filled with a lot of loss. In fact many of my favorite books are gut wrenching and have broken my heart. I'm idealistic because I want to read books that are 4 & 5 star reads all of the time. I want to love a book not just like it . I want a book to really get to me in some way. I have to admit that I was not expecting this book to get to me like it did.It's about war, and two gutsy women, one a spy and one a pilot and about a friendship that will last the ages because many years from now someone will read this book and it will get to them also. If you want more details on the story, check out the book's description on Goodreads. I don't think it's necessary for me to repeat that here.What I can say is that while I knew I was reading a work of fiction, there was something that made Julia and Maddie and their story so real. I felt as if all of it really happened . When I read the author's "debriefing" at the end of the book, I discovered that this story in some ways could have happened and that there were probably bold, courageous women who fought the war like Julia and Maddie, with code names something other than Verity and Kittyhawk.
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  • Lindsey Rey
    June 2, 2014
    [4.5 Stars]
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