Code Name Verity – Review

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Read Code Name Verity if you enjoy:

  • WWII stories that focus on people, not battles
  • Female friendships done right
  • Intricate plots that unfold slowly and reward patience
  • Strong characters and genuine emotions

My result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

Code Name Verity is the story of friendship between two young women in WWII. Maddie is a civilian pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary; “Verity” is a Special Operations Executive. Their plane crashes over Nazi-occupied France, and Verity is captured by the Gestapo almost immediately. This is their story.

This is one of those stories that’s very hard to talk about, because the way the story unfolds and how things are revealed over time is so much of the reason why it’s successful. It’s AMAZING, but it’s hard to explain why without ruining it.

Here’s what I can tell you:
* The emotions are genuine and understated, moving without ever being melodramatic.
* Female friendship is the real star of this story.
* Lots of interesting WWII details, including roles for women, British civilian and espionage organizations, treatment of prisoners, and Resistance life in occupied France

The storyline is much more complex and twisty than it seems at first. If in the beginning it seems a little slow, I can only tell you to keep going. The payoff is worth it.

Review of the audio edition: Highly Recommended

The narration by Moreven Christie and Lucy Gaskell is excellent. Both performers get the characters perfect and their performance makes the story even more powerful. The emotions are perfect, never overdone, and made me feel everything the characters went through.

Book Awards for Code Name Verity

YALSA Top Ten 2013, Printz Honor 2013, Goodreads Choice Nomninee

If you liked Code Name Verity, try these books!

You may also like:

  • Trickster’s Choice – Female friendship in a fantasy setting. All of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books feature strong women, but this two book series is a good place to start.
  • Farthing – An alt-history WWII mystery that starts slowly and pays off big time. It starts as a British manor mystery, then turns chilling. My review
  • The Rook – A fast paced urban fantasy, opposite from Code Name Verity in pacing and tone. But it does line up with Verity’s female friendships and dual layered story told through letters.

What is your favorite story featuring female friendship? Answer here, or drop a link in the comments.

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