Friday, May 4, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity is a historical fiction novel that is told in diary form. The story follows Julia Beaufort-Stuart (spy) and Maddie Brodatt (pilot) as they serve the United Kingdom during World War II.

Julia just happens to be very good at speaking and understanding both French and German and therefore gets pulled into the Special Duties section of the RAF as not only an interpreter, but later as a spy. Maddie is a spot on mechanic who went from fixing bicycles to being an amazing pilot who can fly just about any plane the British are able to put into the sky.

Julia and Maddie’s paths intertwine over the course of several years which eventually leads them to becoming best friends. On a secret mission to France in which Maddie’s plane is shot down, Julia is captured by the German occupiers after making a silly mistake. She is told that her best friend is dead, and is then tortured to the point where she reveals things to her German captor who goes against his superiors’ wishes by not executing her right away.

Over the course of the story, we are told that Julia is a collaborator and working with the Germans. But, there is so much more to it than that. Julia DOES reveal certain details about things the Germans badly need to know. The question remains for the reader to figure out if they are they actually true or are they fabricated in order to tell a story.

As for Maddie, we get a chance to read about her trying experiences after crashing in France and not knowing what happened to her best friend or the fact that she doesn’t speak a word of German or French. We are shown how she ultimately makes it out of France with the help of some French freedom fighters. We are also shown how much Maddie’s friendship with Julia really meant to the two women.

I've said this before on my updates, yet it bears repeating. This was a Bloody Brilliant story. I loved this story from the first page to the last. I love the fact that Wein uses two distinct women to tell her story about the trials and tribulations of women during World War II.

If you weren’t aware of how important women were to the overall war effort during World War II, then you should seriously ask your history professor or your grandparents if they are of the appropriate age. Hell, go to the library and borrow a book! There are plenty of writers who brought their courage and sacrifices to light in a very respectful and meaningful way.

I enjoyed Julie telling the story about her best friend Maddie while she was a prisoner of the Nazis. I also loved the fact that Maddie had a similar chance to tell her story about Julia when she thought she was going to be tried and hanged by the UK authorities after crashing her plane in France. I also LOVED the revelation that I shall not spoil about Julie’s time as a captive spy.

There is a terrible choice made during the second part of this book that will leave readers either stunned, or in agreement that they would have had the courage to do the same thing. Either way, it really shows that women do have a role in wars and not just men.

If you enjoy historical fiction, then you will love this book. I encourage those who have any sense of adventure to take a chance with this book. Like it or not, you will get a pretty decent story from an author who actually took her time writing and researching this story to make it more realistic.

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Released: May 15, 2012


  1. Disney hyperion books are usually good but i didn't know they have books for grown ups, i'll be checking this out!

    1. This book is so good I had a hard time choosing between 4 and 5 stars for it. Then again, I love historical fiction so maybe I'm a wee bit biased.

  2. I have heard soo many great things about this book and I cannot wait to read it. Grat review! just makes me want to read it even more!

    your newest follower,

  3. I don't really like historical fiction, but when it comes to WWII historical fiction, I absolutely adore it. I'm not sure why--maybe because it's one of my favorite periods to study? But I had my run of horrible historical fiction lately and was hesitant on reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Eventually I succumbed and downloaded it from NetGalley. YOU GUYS. This book blew me away. It made me cry so many times and hug my ereader so hard; Code Name Verity has to be one of my favorite YA reads so far.