Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on May 15, 2012
Published by Hyperion
Read From: 8.7.12 - 8.9.12
Cover Blurb: The title is what initially caught my attention, but the cover caught it even more. After reading the story, I have more appreciation for it; the two hands clasped - and tied - together signifying Verity and Maddie’s friendship.
What I Liked: Verity and Maddie are both awesome protagonists. They are spunky and sarcastic (Verity especially) without having The Attitude, and they felt totally authentic for the time period. I loved ‘em.
What I Disliked: I was a little sad that the Author actually reveals Verity’s real name. I liked not knowing it, for some reason.
Believability: Here’s where I had some difficulty. The Author definitely did research on the S.O.E. and the many other elements in her story - the very lengthy Author’s Note in the back proves this, as well as my own research. However, the Gestapo agent that was responsible for Verity’s interrogation was not believable. I just don’t believe that the Gestapo would accept Verity’s long-winded, novel-style personal story as a confession. The thumb screws would be brought out. And if he (the interrogator) were showing sympathetic signs, he would be punished. It’s true that his superiors start pressuring him, but they would do more than that. This may seem like a little flaw, but it isn’t, because Verity’s entire half of the story is told through her confession, therefore we the Readers must accept that it’s a plausible for of narration. It isn’t, thus the whole story has an underlying element of un-authenticity.
Writing Style: The first half of Code Name Verity is written as Verity’s confession to the Gestapo, therefore it’s a combination of present-tense and past-tense, and very choppy in instances. The second half is told by Maddie, in a journal-like style. It, too, is sometimes choppy, but I didn’t mind it as much as Verity’s narration. My first reaction to how the book was written was very negative; I almost stopped reading it immediately. But after a little while, the style did grow on me a bit. I still didn’t like it, but I got used to it enough that I was able to finish - and enjoy - the story.
Content: 8 s-words, 2 f-words. The Author eludes to torture and sexual content without actually saying what happened.
Conclusion: The end is bittersweet, which fit this story very well. It’s a very moving conclusion; I actually felt like crying, and I don’t cry very often while reading. Despite the rather unbelievable Gestapo agent, I did like Code Name Verity. It’s a very good WWII novel with very strong, very believable female protagonists that lack Attitude and flakiness.
Recommended Audience: Fans of WWII-based novels, and Readers who are anxious for strong female protagonists that don’t have The Attitude. This is a guy-and-girl read, but intended for an older audience because of the language.