Review: Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Synopsis from Goodreads.
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

A note: This review is going to be a bit vague because I really, really, reallyreally don’t want to spoil this book for anyone. Because oh my gosh….

A note on the note: This review really is going to be vague unlike all my other ‘vague’ reviews which go on for about a year.

The first thing I did after I finished reading this book was to pick up my phone and text my best friend, who I have known since I was eleven and has been there through every single one of my problems and ill-advised fringes, and tell her that I loved her.

The second thing I did after I finished reading this book was flip back to the beginning and start reading it again.
I don’t mind admitting that it took me and this book a while to really get going. The way this book was written with all the capital letters bothered me and the changing in perspectives and everything really confused me.
It took me a good 100 pages to get into but seeing as this book is over 400 pages long; that was absolutely fine.
And after those first 100 pages, I learnt the truth and that is: This book is fantastic.
I knew I’d love it when I was noseying at the wonderful Chachic’s status updates and then I read the synopsis.

Spies? Pilots? Codes? Secrets? History? Best friends? Mancunians?!
These are a few of my favourite things…

I loved the setting. I loved the plot. I loved the era.
And the twists absolutely threw me (although, I did have the smallest of small inklings of one thing but that’s only because I have a clever dad who eats history books for breakfast and I accidentally asked a question that got made me put a few things together…)
The twist and the ending…. I just can’t even think about them without jibbering.

Code Name Verity is The Usual Suspects of YA literature.

Like I said above, the second thing I did after I finished reading this book was to go back to the beginning and read over certain parts again. I know that this book will be one of those books that will get better and better every time I read it.
I loved Verity. I loved Maddie.
They were real girls.
They laugh, they cry, they flirt with boys, they gossip, they’re loyal, they fly planes, they can land planes, they can speak different languages, they can crack codes, they can do the unthinkable, they do the right thing.
I loved that, with Maddie and Verity, Ms Wein showed that you can be strong, you can be brave, you can be good at what you do, you can be the best at what you do and you can do all this without sacrificing your femininity and/or becoming a passive-aggressive “message”. There was never a sense that these ladies did what they did in a “Look! Look! We can do it too. We’re just as good as boys!” and because they had something to prove.
They were such rich and beautiful characters and I loved, loved, loved them both so dearly.

And, anyway, boys didn’t even get a look in. They wouldn’t be able to keep up with any of the girls in this book.


The phrase “Careless talk costs lives” is mentioned frequently in this book and I couldn’t help but be reminded of this poster:

Picture taken from the wonderful IWM shop.

Also, the fact that that I own that very poster [bought from the Imperial War Museum North, I’ve still not been to the London one, or the Churchill War Rooms, yet… one day :) ] and it is hanging up on my bedroom wall….that helped too.

So that’s it.
That’s my review.
It doesn’t do this book justice in the slightest but it’s the best that I can do.

Arm yourself with tissues, read this book, prepare to be amazed and always fly high.

16 thoughts on “Review: Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

  1. Want so badly to read this. In @JoWearsOldCats fashion, you've forgotten an e in your poster statement so it says “Carless talk costs lives.” What could this mean? I don't even own a car–are you saying I am doing my part to save the human race?

    If this ending was a surprise to you, SIGN ME UP! I can't wait.

  2. LOL. Trust you to find that. Also… I still chuckle at that. I do think I need a sister blog where I post pictures of myself wearing old cats on my head.

    But thanks love, I've changed it now so anyone who reads this in the future will be like “Huh? What? God, isn't that Flannery girl odd?!

    But yes, I hear if too many non-drivers meet up and talk in one place BAD THINGS HAPPEN.

  3. So I've already commented on your Goodreads review but I just wanted to repeat it here: LOVE everything that you said. And I'm thrilled that you loved it.

    Flannery, rest assured that I'll be bugging you to read Code Name Verity now that I know you're interested in it. :P

  4. Love your review, Jo! This sounds absolutely amazing – I will have to check it out I think. I also love the sound of Verity and Maddie. Great characterisation can turn a book around completely for me. This one definitely looks promising!

  5. Pingback: Code name Verity | Susan Hated Literature

  6. I tried to stay vague in my review too. It isn’t that too many details would spoil the book, but they would make an initial read different :)

    I loved this book and I really wasn’t expecting to,the blurb didn’t get me overly interested but I had seen it mentioned favourably somewhere or other so risked it :) And so glad that I did.

    • I know exactly what you mean, fence. I really like historical fiction, especially WW stories, but I wasn’t really in a rush to read it.

      Then I started reading reviews and I knew I just had to. :D
      I’m so glad you loved it!

  7. Pingback: Write-Up: Once Upon a Wartime (IWM) « weartheoldcoat

  8. Pingback: Write Up: WW2 with William Osborne & Elizabeth Wein at Cheltenham. « weartheoldcoat

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