Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Book: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication date: 2012
Summary: A World War II story of two young women, best friends, who find untapped talents to use in the service of their country. Maddie is a mechanic and a pilot. The other girl, unnamed for much of the book, is skilled at taking on roles, just the sort of trait that makes a good spy.
Thoughts: The structure of this book is intriguing and exciting to read, but it makes it hard to summarize without giving away something. I was mesmerized — I read the whole book in less than 24 hours, which is rare for me. There are parts that are sickening and devastating and you definitely want some tissues handy, but I’m really glad I read this and kind of wish I could read it again for the first time.
As a librarian, I loved reading the debriefing note at the end that gave us a hint at the research process and what bits of the story were based on real events. I especially loved the brief bibliography that offered more ways to explore the topic.
The song “The Last Time I Saw Paris” makes several appearances in Code Name Verity. Here’s a version from You Tube with Dean Martin singing and a 360 degree view of Paris.
Appeal: Like I said, this is a very sad book in a lot of ways. The library where I borrowed it marks it as “High School” and that’s probably about right. Younger readers than that might find it too disturbing. Code Name Verity will appeal to a lot of audiences. As I wrote in my review of Cinder: Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer, the character of Maddie intrigues me as a woman mechanic. She’s also a pilot which will be of interest to those attracted to aviation, including male readers. The World War II element will appeal to anyone, young or old, with interests in the British home front or the French Resistance.
The unusual structure of the book, a kind of postmodernist approach where we seem to be reading historical documents, will appeal to readers who like literature that takes some risks and succeeds in creating a whole new way of telling a story.
Code Name Verity was an Honor Book for the Printz Prize — here’s the announcement at GreenBeanTeenQueen: Celebrating My Printz Year. Sarah served on the committee!
Other Reviews: I first heard of this book from my favorite source for good World War II stories, Alex at The Children’s War. She really did read it again a second time right after the first! Here’s her review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
Challenge: I was almost all the way through this book when I realized it’s set in France! So this is the first of three books for the Books on France 2013 Challenge.
Meme: I’ll also link this to the Dreaming of France meme at An Accidental Blog hosted by Paulita. This is my first time participating. Check her post on Monday for other France-themed posts.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Thanks for the review 🙂 I must keep the book in mind 🙂
I’ve just heard of this book recently in the SLJ battle of the books (it’s in the grand final, but as a wild card entry), but I didn’t know anything particularly about it. It sounds interesting.
This book has been on my radar for a bit and I don’t know what I’m waiting for 😉
Great review, Joy. And thank you for the mention. I love that you highlighted the song mentioned in the book. Music is such an important part of historical fiction, sometimes.
I hadn’t heard of this book so thanks for enlightening me. That video was breathtaking. I saw so many places that I long for. Thanks for playing along this week. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme
I’m not sure about the book but that video you put up is exceptional. Really beautiful.
I absolutely loved this when I read it, even though the beginning is a little hard to get into. Like you, by the end I wished I could read it again for the first time. But I also instantly wanted to reread it with my new insights. Very intriguing structure, and yes, quite devastating in places.
I totally love the idea behind this book and have been hearing so many good things about it… Just waiting for a library copy 🙂
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