Coming Soon: Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

I am a coward.

I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.

So begins Elizabeth Wein’s extraordinary Code Name Verity, due out in the US this May. The story of a passionate friendship set in the landscape of World War II Britain, women pilots, espionage, Nazis, the Resistance, and occupied France, it is one of the most remarkable books I’ve read.

The book begins as an account by one Verity — a young female British spy who has evidently been captured by the Gestapo in France and is now being forced to write out all she knows in a brutal situation of torture and misery. Day by day Verity relates both the experiences of her prison (and of those who supervise and manage her) and those of her past. Twisting in and around time, Verity introduces her dear friend Maddie who became a pilot at a time when female ones were few and far between. She tells of their unlikely friendship, of their parallel developments as pilot and spy, and of the events before, during, and after the night Maddie flies her to France for a mission that goes very, very wrong.

Code Name Verity is a harrowing, riveting, and deeply emotional read   — harrowing as there are references to torture, riveting as it is a thriller of the sort that keeps you agog to figure out just what is happening, and deeply emotional because of Wein’s brilliant writing. Who is Verity exactly? What was she sent to do? Has she compromised her mission? Her friend? Her country? Can we trust her account? Can we trust her?

Beautifully written from the most elegantly composed sentences to the exquisitely developed characters and the intricate puzzle of a plot, Code Name Verity is outstanding.



Filed under Other, YA

7 responses to “Coming Soon: Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

  1. Wow – Code Name Verity sounds like a gripper! I’ve been on a bit of a historical fiction kick lately, and this sounds like a book I need to read.


  2. I have this one in my stack of must-read-soon! books. I’ve been working hard on a nonfiction presentation but I think you just helped me shirk that task. The heck with work – bring on this amazing book. I adore Elizabeth Wein’s other books and am beyond eager to read this one.

    Thanks for the push and the great review ;-)


  3. Can’t wait to hear both your responses to this one! Has been growing and growing on me the more I think about it.


  4. I couldn’t agree more with your review! I was fortunate enough to get a copy from England so I’ve had it out and available to students in my library this month. I talked a 7th grade boy into it earlier this week (I’m dying to know what he thinks). It’s a truly exceptional book, though I cried for a solid two hours at least (!) reading it.


  5. Have just finished this and it’s AMAZING – almost certainly the best I’ve read so far this year. Like Sarah, I was in floods of tears for much of it.


  6. p

    Any heroine named Verity has a leg up in my book. I’ll keep an eye out!


  7. Pingback: Interview with Elizabeth Wein | educating alice

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