Code Name Verity


This is an attempt at reviewing Code Name Verity without giving too much of the plot away.

Code Name Verity is a novel by Elizabeth Wein which was pointed out to me by Cari Hunter in the interview I posted on this blog a month ago. It has been categorised as a YA novel but I honestly believe it is a very restricting label. Code Name Verity deserves a wider and older audience and has the potential of a classic.

‘I am a coward. I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.’

These are the opening lines of the novel. The narrator is Queenie. She’s a Scottish aristocrat who was arrested when she looked the wrong way (left, in true British manner) before crossing a street in France. She is now detained by the Gestapo in a former hotel near Poitiers, and forced to write a confession detailing the British war effort.

Through her crafty and witty confession, she tells the story of her friendship with Maddie, a working class Mancunian of Jewish descent and the pilot who dropped her in France, and the saga that brought her to France.

In the second part of the novel, the point of view shifts to another character and the story takes on a totally different meaning.

Code Name Verity is not just a war story. It is primarily a book about friendship, about love, about the powerful and mutual attraction, the gut-wrenching trust and the unfailing loyalty between two young women who in normal circumstances would never have met.

If you like good and well-researched writing, clever humour and strong heroines, you will love Code Name Verity. But be warned: it is a book that will bring tears to your eyes and will still haunt you long after you have read the last page.

Quotes from Code Name Verity:

It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

‘We’re still alive and we make a sensational team.’

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.

7 thoughts on “Code Name Verity

  1. What a brilliant review of an amazing novel! I would have struggled not to give the game away in writing a review myself – I think you managed it very successfully! I know I’ll be reading it again myself….

    • Thank you for the words of praise! It was a tricky review to write; trying to say enough to entice other people to read the book without telling too much.
      I am already reading it again. 🙂

  2. Hm, you do make it sound interesting. I love the design of the cover. Very clever, the way the girl is the main subject, but the war plane hovers on top.

    • Interesting that you noticed the design of the book cover. If you click on the link to the author’s website, you will see the five covers that exist. The second from the left was the original cover but it was criticised for evoking ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ so I think it is no longer used and was replaced by the first one. The third one is for the American market; maybe it is supposed to evoke the English countryside. The last one has the same format as Wein’s new novel which is also set during WW2. I have no idea about the fourth cover.

  3. Nice interview, making the book sound like a good read. I have read several books geared towards “young adults’, and also found them to be for a wider audience.

  4. Pingback: Women Write Weekly Review | Hannah's Nook

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