Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

View from the window seat:
“Verity” is living a spy’s worst nightmare: captured by the Gestapo, her execution imminent. She makes a deal with her Nazi interrogators: her written confession for more time. As she writes, she tells the story of how she became friends with the pilot Maddie and how she was caught. Through her words, Verity confronts her views on bravery and reveals the strength of an unbreakable friendship.

This novel is just…stunning. Verity writes her confession as a novel, mixing in first-person and third-person narrations, both past and present. This is truly the perfect brilliance of an unreliable narrator: a spy forced to tell the truth in the face of torture and death. From a literary standpoint, there just simply aren’t words to describe how brilliant and effective this narration is.

At the true heart of this novel is the friendship between Verity and Maddie. I LOVE these two women, fierce and brave and caring. Their bond is one of love, real, honest, true love that is unforgettable and incredibly moving. Verity says it best:

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

Such a beautiful, undeniable truth. These two women, surrounded by terrible evil, are astonishing in their courage and strength.

The novel begins with the simple line “I AM A COWARD.” As the story progresses, the reader discovers that the idea is not so simple at all. I can’t explain why this starting line is so brilliant because to do so would give away the twists. Suffice it to say that this story is told with amazing cleverness.

Overall impression:
Code Name Verity is a sensational story of friendship, loyalty, and bravery set in the world of spies and pilots in WWII.



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