Code Name Verity: A Book Review

Posted March 21, 2015 by Carlisa in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Code Name Verity: A Book ReviewCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 6, 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, War, YA
Pages: 343
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

This story was a beautiful novel of love and friendship amidst the turmoil and tragedy of war. It will twist your heart and break it into pieces and perhaps make you cry (don’t worry, I surprisingly held it together and didn’t cry).

This is the story of two girls during WWII, Queenie and Maddie. It starts in the perspective of Queenie, a British wireless operator who got caught and was writing a log for the Nazis. She tells the story of her best friend Maddie, a pilot for the British army. She tells the story of their friendship and how they got to this point: two best friends who may never see each other again.

My Review:
This book wasn’t easy for me to get into. It took me awhile and I think that’s it’s because how it’s set up. It’s not the traditional narrator, plot, dialogue story. The entire story is written in logs meant for her enemy. So she’s not an entirely reliable narrator and I think I had a hard time with that. Mostly Queenie is telling the story of Maddie, but it was written as if Queenie was an omniscient narrator…which she’s not. So that threw me off. They do address this later, though, and my mind has changed a lot about this. I think it works. It works well. And if I had time I would read it again so I can have a different perspective in this beginning.

I started getting attached to the characters when Queenie’s emotions started breaking through the narrative of the logs. The first quote I wrote down from her is: “God what a mess. I have to stop here until I stop crying or it will all be illegibly smeared. . . sorry sorry sorry”
No punctuation at the end, just raw emotion. I felt for her so strongly here even though I didn’t know what had happened to make her so sad.

Also the FORESHADOWING. The TENSION. So much and so well done. I was getting so nervous to continue because I thought I knew what was coming (I didn’t) but I needed to keep reading anyway (I did). Look at this beautiful quote: “It’s awful, telling it like this, isn’t it? As though we didn’t know the ending. As though it could have another ending. It’s like watching Romeo drink poison. Every time you see it you get fooled into thinking his girlfriend might wake up and stop him. Every single time you see it you want to shout, ‘You stupid ass, just wait a minute,’ and she’ll open her eyes! ‘Oi, you, you twat, open your eyes, wake up! Don’t die this time!’ But they always do.” Ahhhhhh.

This book questions the meaning of an identity. What does a name mean? Does it even matter? Not really since we don’t even learn the real name of Queenie until about halfway through the book. There are so many code names and created versions of memories that you wonder what’s true and what’s important…but you can definitely come to a conclusion: friendship and love. That‘s what’s important. Even more than truth.

My recommendation: Read the book. Cry over the book. Love the book.



  • Amy @ Hope Is the Word

    I LOVE this one, too. Did you know Elizabeth Wein has a new book coming out in a few days?!?!

    • Well, I do now! Thanks for the heads up!