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Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity (edition 2012)

by Elizabeth Wein

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,9412093,516 (4.35)259
Title:Code Name Verity
Authors:Elizabeth Wein
Info:Hyperion Book CH (2012), Edition: First American Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
Tags:world war ii, historical fiction, friendship, strong female, torture, mercy killing, spies, espionage, nazis, gestapo, war, aviation, planes, pilots, french resistance, gr9, gr10, gr11, gr12

Work details

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  1. 30
    Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal by Mal Peet (faither)
  2. 20
    Firebirds Soaring: An Anthology of Original Speculative Fiction by Sharyn November (Herenya)
    Herenya: Firebirds Soaring contains "Something Worth Doing" (by Wein) about Theo, a pilot and minor character from Code Name Verity.
  3. 20
    Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (rarm)
    rarm: Set on opposite sides of the pond, but both are about wartime aviatrices and wonderfully depict female friendship.
  4. 31
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are about the unusual ways in which women may impact the tides of war
  5. 00
    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (amysisson)
    amysisson: Young adults struggling to survive in war-torn England -- although different wars (one real, one fictional) in different times! These books are different, yet I really feel that if you love one, you'll love the other.
  6. 00
    A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (calmclam)
    calmclam: Both focus on girls in/around England adapting to the changing circumstances of World War II via their journals.
  7. 00
    Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  8. 01
    Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley (saraOm7)
    saraOm7: These are both about teenage girls working as spies in France during WWII, though one has a much happier ending than the other.
  9. 01
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (keeneam)

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» See also 259 mentions

English (207)  German (1)  All languages (208)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
I feel like this book could have been good if a few things about it had changed. Half of the book is written from "Verity's" point of view as she writes down her confessions on whatever pieces of paper her captors can scrounge up. Normally, it would be interesting/heart-wrenching to read about a character who has been tortured and forced to give up secrets in order to try and make the pain stop, however, the confessions that she writes is done is such an unrealistic way that it was distracting. Basically, she is allowed to sit there and write a novel about her life story from how she first go involved in the war to her capture. Wein tries to make this seem plausible by showing that the SS officer (SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer von Linden) in charge is actually a very literary person and enjoys a good narrative, by I'm not buying it. There is no way that the officer von Linden works under would allow this to continue. Von Linden probably would have been shot in the head long before "Verity" even got close to the juicy bits of the story. This alone was enough to ruin this whole section for me.

However, by the second half, it got better. Which is why this book isn't graded lower than it is. The second half is from the perspective of her friend of whom "Verity" talks about in her ever so lengthy confession. Maddie is a much more realistic character, and the manner of her writing down her experiences of hiding in occupied France makes much more sense as is acts as both a report on her plane crash and a diary. I also believe that Maddie is a much more interesting character than "Verity".

Maddie's constant fear of getting captured was very real, and not only did she worry about herself but she constantly worried about the family that was hiding her away, knowing that if she were caught, this family would surely die, or worse, be tortured by the Nazis. She was also the more relateable character as she is not actually a member of the military and so doesn't have the training for these situations like "Verity" has. She admits to her fear, and while she claims that she is a coward, Maddie is actually one of the bravest people in the whole book, as she does what needs to be done despite the fear that she feels. This, in my opinion, is true courage.

If this whole book were written in the perspective of Maddie, or if the "Verity" sections were short, and thus more realistic, I would have enjoyed this book much more than I did. As is, I can't give it a higher score since I really disliked half the book. And disliking half the book automatically disqualifies it from high scoring. ( )
1 vote kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
Great book. Surprising ending. Told in a first person point of view and very craftily written. ( )
  hmskip | Jan 22, 2015 |
There are truly an overwhelming number of positive reviews for this novel, so I'll just say that I'm an outlier. I might normally blame that on the fact that I am not in the demographic it's aimed at, but plenty of people outside that demographic also loved it while I most definitely did not.

It's nearly impossible to discuss why the book didn't work for me without giving away plot points, so I'm going to be very general. The first section was simply not only not enjoyable to read, but also unbelievable to me. I simply could not believe the narrative voice, the content, or the reaction of the character's Gestapo captors. The second part of the book is told by a different narrator, but I had trouble differentiating between the two character's voices. They sounded very similar to me. The big moment in that section was robbed of any emotional impact for me by the way it's told, the unbelievability of the circumstances, and what happens immediately afterward.

I kept reading in hopes that something would happen to make it all make sense to me, but it never did. This one just wasn't for me.

Recommended for: everyone who doesn't have a tiny, shriveled, emotionless heart like mine, apparently.

Quote: "I am in the Special Operations Executive because I can speak French and German and am good at making up stories, and I am a prisoner in the Ormaie Gestapo HQ because I have no sense of direction whatsoever." ( )
  ursula | Jan 12, 2015 |
This book. This stupid, brilliant, evil, awful, wonderful, beautiful book. My best friend told me to read it, only telling me that it was "about best friends." So obviously she is evil and awful as well. I can't get it out of my head now. Not just the plot, but also the author's stunning skill in how she laid the story out with its unexpected revelations in the second half, and how she brought her characters to life, and how she perfectly handled something that would have felt emotionally manipulative in a lesser author's hand. ( )
  BrookeAshley | Jan 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
If you pick up this book, it will be some time before you put your dog-eared, tear-stained copy back down. Wein succeeds on three fronts: historical verisimilitude, gut-wrenching mystery, and a first-person voice of such confidence and flair that the protagonist might become a classic character if only we knew what to call her. Alternately dubbed Queenie, Eva, Katharina, Verity, or Julie depending on which double-agent operation she's involved in, she pens her tale as a confession while strapped to a chair and recovering from the latest round of Gestapo torture. The Nazis want the codes that Julie memorized as a wireless operator, and she supplies them, but along the way also tells of her fierce friendship with Maddie, a British pilot. Though delivered at knifepoint, Julie's narrative is peppered with dark humor and minor acts of defiance, and the tension that builds up is practically unbearable.
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist, Daniel Kraus

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Weinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christie, MorvenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaskell, LucyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, WhitneyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
November, SharynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Passive resisters must understand that they are as important as saboteurs." –SOE Secret Operations Manual, 'Methods of Passive Resistance'
For Amanda

we make a sensational team
First words
I AM A COWARD. I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.
I have told the truth.
"Kiss me, Hardy!"
The soaring mountains rose around here, and the poets' waters glittered beneath her in the valleys of memory - hosts of golden daffodils, "Swallows and Amazons", Peter Rabbit. (p. 28)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Official Book Trailer

Two young women become unlikely best friends during WWII, until one is captured by the Gestapo. Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted to each other. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors. Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they've ever believed in is put to the test...
Haiku summary
Two girls, one friendship
we concealed in blood and ink.
I have told the truth. (octopedingenue)

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In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.

(summary from another edition)

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