Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

My Take

Still on the spy novel spree (see The Venetian Affair, North from Rome, Red Joan), this is another book, like Legends & Lattes, that I’d seen lots of positive comments on. Oh my yes. I generally steer clear of World War II based books. (Why is all historical fiction in the Amazon First Reads based in WWII?) but had to try this one. So good and so unexpected. I found it delightfully free of tropes. And for a YA book, not shallow.