Wednesday 11 July 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Every once in a couple of years, I happen to read a book that leaves me filled with awe... reminding of what words can do. Code Name Verity took my breath away with a story that broke my heart. The cover haunts me, now that I am aware of the meaning behind it. I can't forget Verity and Maddie and their friendship that was plain beautiful.

You couldn't make these people up, Elizabeth Wein says in the Author's Debriefing and I couldn't agree more. This book was filled with characters that felt so real... I could see them, hear them and feel the intensity of everything around and about them.

“It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

"Verity" is a British spy. She looked at the wrong side of the road and now she's at the mercy of the Gestapo, forced to give a full written confession to avoid the worst of consequences. In her confession, Verity writes about her friendship with Maddie, a pilot and the events that led to her capture. Everything about this raw and compelling account had me glued to my e-reader; I could not take my eyes away from the screen, even when I had to muffle a chuckle or blink away tears that threatened to fall.

I do not want to say more about the plot or the characters because it might just give everything away. All I want to say is this: Code Named Verity seemed full of technicalities about flying, codes and World War II that I wasn't sure I would be able to stomach. All those details about something that was alien to me... I couldn't make head or tail of it in the beginning. But I was sucked in soon as the beauty of the relationships and sentiments it was filled with broke through the practiced confession.

I loved the way the story was narrated. Every character, including Verity's captor Hauptsturmfürer von Linden, was multi-layered and intrigued me from the beginning. There are shades of gray in each one of them, including the protagonist. I appreciated the research that was done to give us a vivid picture of the setting behind Code Name Verity. It was especially amazing how the history of the ball point pen was incorporated into the story!

Code Name Verity is definitely one of my favourites of 2012! I want to give a copy of this book to each and every person I meet and say, Read this! For this book was vivid and poignant and crushed my heart into pieces; something that hasn't happened to me in the longest time.

Publication date: 15th May, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  1. Seems to be an interesting premise. Will try it out.

  2. This has to get onto my tbr list... Isn't it amazing when we find a book with impact that leaves us with a lasting impression? Intriguing review. :-D

  3. I'm glad that you've found your favorite 2012 read, Ajoop! x) This book sounds totally amazing! I know so many people have enjoyed this book and recommended it, so I know I have to give this book a go! <3 It sounds very poignant and touching. I think I need to check my Kleenex stock first! :P

    Such a brilliant review, Ajoop! As always. <3

    PS: I'm VERY sorry I haven't commented on your blog lately! I got sick. :(

  4. Jasprit loved this as well, Ajoop. I can't read stories with torture in them, they disturb me too much. Your review is so beautiful Ajoop and really shows what a powerful and lovely story this is!

  5. Beautiful review. I really want to read this. It sounds unique and fascinating and heartbreaking and beautiful. Ah! I need it!! I'm sure my sister would love it too, as she was a history major.


  6. Okay, that's officially it -- I need need NEED to buy this book! I don't think I've heard a single negative thing about it, and most of the reviews I've read have been 5 stars like yours! I can't imagine what it would be like to be Verity in that situation. Actually, I can't imagine what it would be like to be a British spy at all -- that's so badass and cool! :')

    Amazing review, Ajoop! I definitely need to read this book as soon as I can :) <3

  7. Wow ! You gave it 5 stars ! It should be really good then. I've had my eyes on the book for some time now, but the idea of war kind of put me off. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book and that it became a favorite of yours.
    Great review, Pooja !

  8. This was one of my favorites, too! I thought it was very powerful and I'm sure it's on its way to become a classic.
    GReat review, Ajoop!

  9. I have this one and now I am kicking myself for not getting to it sooner. Lovely review my friend! Miss you! Hope things aren't too crazy in your corner of the world!

  10. Awesome review Ajoop, this book definitely took me by surprise too, I initially found the beginning so hard to get into, but then I found myself flying through the pages!

  11. I'm reading this one right now! :D I'm not too far in but I can already see what you mean about the research and the honest, REAL story. I'm so intrigued by a lot of the characters, especially "Verity" herself and v.L.! LOVE your review and so so so glad that you enjoyed it so much! ('Enjoyed' is probably the wrong word for this book... appreciated?) LOL anywayssss! Thank you for sharing! <3



HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)