Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity, #1
Released: May 15th, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: *inhuman sobbing*
Reviewed by: Mel

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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, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? 

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

This is why there is something called a second chance. They let you come back and give Code Name Verity another try and just pull you right into a tornado. Seriously. I’m a train wreck. A lifeless ragdoll.

Code Name Verity is not an easy read. It’s not only difficult to get into, but also its painfully and agonizingly hard to finish without ripping the tear soaked pages. Yeah that’s right, another tear jerker. But here’s my disclaimer: there is no guarantee you will sob and crawl into the corner underneath bed covers like I did. I am almost 99% sure that you will either love it, or hate it’s guts. The first time, a few months ago when I snagged this from the library, I put it down reluctantly after just 30 pages. The thing is, you must persevere and pretend you totally understand the airplane jargon. Eventually, you catch on. Just like I did the second time round.

This book, for about the first third is commonly described as confusing. It truly is. The jargon, dull writing and just complete detachedness from the new novel format all needs some time to adjust to. Basically, Verity being interrogated by Hauptsturmführer von Linden and she is given all the paper she needs to write down everything she knows about the British War Effort. And it all begins from when she met her best friend, Maddie. Things twist and go crazy after that.

Verity and Maddie appear to be the South Pole and North Pole. Verity is a Scottish (not English, like Verity likes to mention) royalty whereas Maddie was just a bike shop owner’s granddaughter. And Verity is utterly aware that if it weren’t for Adolf Hitler, (who she hates with a passion) they may have never met. This is only one reason of many why I love Verity. She may have a red raging fury but she is still thoughtful and grateful for the things she has, not sad for the things she doesn’t. Her up-beat nature and strong opinions of life were entertaining and I soon commenced into loving Verity. Then there’s Maddie. We actually don’t get much of her perspective—it’s told mostly by Verity and writes down basically Maddie’s story.  She is a compassionate young woman, just like Verity. While Verity and Maddie came from different walks of life, their qualities are what made them best of friends.

Bound to make you cry if you can reach the end, Code Name Verity is a standalone novel which will throw you in a tornado that never stops twisting your heart and soul. It also incorporates elements of betrayal, trust, friendship and  courage.


  1. WOW sounds super emotional and the historical aspect of it will make it even more so! I have wanted to read this book for ages, but just never got around to it. Great review as always Mel :)

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  2. Oh hey, Blythe. Had to stop by and see you curled up in a ball of emotional agony. And then point and laugh. That's what friends do, right? I lost my manual, but I'm FAIRLY certain that's what I'm meant to do here.

    Ha, second chances are why I went through a two year streak of not DNFing anything. What if the moment I DNF something I start hearing how awesome it actually is and then I later have to reread that same boring fifty pages. Noooooo.

    "hate it's guts" *coughs*

    I actually didn't get all the way to love for CNV. I'm impressed by it, but I didn't get emotional about it, which is the love token for me.


    1. Whoooops, sorry Mel. I always scroll past the metadata in posts and my reader was all BLYTHE POSTED THIS. *is shamed*

  3. Oh goodness, I couldn't agree more about wanting to just curl up in a ball. I listened to the audiobook version and fell in love with the story. Verity is a character you just can't help but laugh along with when she makes the off-handed comments throughout about Hauptsturmführer von Linden and the rest of the military guards around her. Considering her position it's amazing how much time they gave her to write it out, which seems very unlike the military to be so patient. Or the parts where there's translation involved after writing and it's all gibberish? Ah! Classic lol Can't help myself, I may actually have to read the book to see if I can "hear the voices" ;)
    - Krys

  4. Lovely, wonderful, excellent review, Mel. It's nice to see it comes highly recommended from you since I bought it the other day. Can't wait to start this one.


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