Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Format: Paperback
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Author through Goodread’s First Reads
Series: NA
Interest: plot

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.


Code Name Verity was, in one word,  brilliant. I have read quite a fair amount of books set during World War II, but none about spies or the Royal Air Force (RAF). And definitely none that were so real, the story became part of me.  I got so hooked on this book that it actually pained me to put it down. I had to know what happened next, had to see what memories were to be uncovered.

Admittedly, it was hard to get into. You are flung straight into the story with barely any introduction to where or what is going on and are tossed a whole bunch of technical terms. But after the first 50 pages or so everything just works. Verity’s choppy narration begins to smooth out and the terms get swept up in the story.

The story is Verity’s confession which, though at times can be hard to read emotionally, worked perfectly for the story. She is not telling her own story but the story of her friend Maddie, who is a pilot. Eventually her story becomes known through Maddie’s eyes and the tale of their friendship begins.

Verity was an amazing narrator. She was able to make light of one of the most horrible situations and some of the things she said were actually laugh-out-loud funny. She is feisty and tough and it was interesting to see the differences between how she acted and how she thought other people saw her. Her confession became more and more like a diary as the story progressed and helped her remain sane closer to the end.

Once I got used to Verity’s narration, the story she told painted a picture in my mind and I felt as if I were actually there. War truly does bring out the best and the worst in humanity as though it shows how horrible people actually are, it comes with hope, because there are still good people who make sacrifices for others.

I was also interested in the historical aspect of the novel. Though the story wasn’t entirely accurate, I was able to imagine what life was like in Europe during the war and about the Royal Air Force, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the Air Transport Auxiliary. Though women were still not considered of equal status to men, they could still help the war effort and I enjoyed the focus on the women’s roles.

The second half of the book is Maddie’s POV and the plot twists actually made my head hurt. I can’t say much more without running the risk of spoiling something, but let me just say that you won’t be expecting a thing. Every loose end was woven back into the story and not a word was left to waste. The ending was sad but it was good that way, and left off on a hopeful note.

Code Name Verity is the kind of book that you never forget; both the happy and the sad. At its heart, it is a tale of friendship and the lengths friends will go through for each other. Verity and Maddie were both brought together by war and separated by it. Yet, at the end of the day, they truly are a sensational team. 


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