Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
|Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein|
Code Name Verity is about two young women who make a “sensational team” during World War II. It is a bittersweet tale of friendship and a wonderful salutation to the women’s war efforts. A wonderfully crafted novel, the humour in the narration gives more than a nod to the horrendous ironies of war.
The novel takes the form of two journals. The first journal is narrated by Verity. She has been captured by the Germans in occupied France and her journal is written under the watchful and brutal eye of her German captors. She has agreed to collaborate with them and divulge British military aviation secrets through her story. She writes “I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.” And so she tells the story of an unlikely friendship formed between Maddie (a pilot) and Queenie (an aristocrat) during the war…..
And the rest, well that would be telling!
The reader becomes the sleuth in this novel, always trying to read between and beyond the lines. What is Verity really saying? And of course, how reliable is she as a narrator? As well as a meaningful story, there is also plenty to keep you guessing right up until the end in this novel. The journal entries include lots of dialogue and action as well as personal reflection. Humour, anguish, regret, friendship, cruelty, war, secrets, truth, lies and a good deal about planes. It’s all in there.
Although a fiction, this historical novel also has a bibliography. What a wonderful addition. Not only does it show the amount of research and author’s passion that went into this story, it is also an extended resource for those readers who are more deeply absorbed by the subject matter and the time period of this novel.
The writing style, and perhaps some of the attention to detail, probably make this a read for an older teen and most definitely adults. If this novel had not been marketed as a teen novel, I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I think this will be a hugely popular crossover title.
This must be one of my best reads this year, and I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t receive book award nominations. I loved it.
Electric Monkey, 2012, London, paperback
This copy: review copy received from Electric Monkey