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Code Name Verity Paperback – February 1, 2012

678 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Code Name Verity Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Teen Books of the Month, May 2012: Rich in historical detail and intrigue, Code Name Verity is a vivid reminder of what makes historical fiction so compelling. In exchange for a temporary stay of execution and lesser forms of torture, a young female spy captured in Nazi-occupied France writes a confession of her activities in the Resistance. Her story is that of two women who should never have crossed paths, yet were destined to become the best of friends and embark upon the covert mission that would determine which of them would live or die. Courage born of friendship, fierce hope, and surprising ironies abound in this spell-binding novel that will appeal to teens and adult readers alike.--Seira Wilson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


'It's a compelling, uncompromising read which makes few concessions to the age group it's written for - either in subject matter or narrative technique. The bits about flight and women in the war are well researched and the terrifying, but exciting, atmosphere is good.' The Independant 'This is a remarkable book, which had me horrified and totally gripped at the same time, and although it is billed as a Young Adult title, don't be put off - it is a very grown-up story.' The Daily Mail '... a rare young adult novel entirely about female power and female friendship...' New York Times '[It] does more than stick with me. It haunts me. I just can't recommend it enough.' -- Maggie Stiefvater, bestselling author of Shiver 'This is a rich and rewarding adventure story with multi-layered heroines and complicated emotions. All 450 pages really do fly by. Expect to see Wein's name in the running for the Older Readers Category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards next year.' The Scotsman 'If you want an original read that will challenge your perceptions about truth, lies, bravery and deception, this is one for you.' Sugarscape '... passionate writing with an utterly compelling story.' -- Manda Scot, Chair of the Historical Writers' Association '... full of convincing detail, heart-stopping emotion and tension.' The Bookseller 'It has been a while since I was so captivated by a character ... Code Name Verity is one of those rare things: an exciting - and affecting - female adventure story.' The Guardian '[a] tale of espionage, torture and female derring-do.' The Times

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Electric Monkey (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405258217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405258210
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (678 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,835,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in New York City in 1964, and moved to England when I was 3. I started school there. We lived practically in the shadow of Alderley Edge, the setting for several of Alan Garner's books and for my own first book The Winter Prince; that landscape, and Garner's books, have been a lifelong influence on me.

My father, who worked for the New York City Board of Education for most of his life, was sent to England to do teacher training at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University. He helped organize the Headstart program there. When I was six he was sent to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica for three years to do the same thing in Kingston. I loved Jamaica and became fluent in Jamaican patois (I can't really speak it any more, but I can still understand it); but in 1973 my parents separated, and we ended up back in the USA living with my mother in Harrisburg, PA, where her parents were. When she died in a car accident in 1978, her wonderful parents took us in and raised us.

I went to Yale University, spent a work-study year back in England, and then spent seven years getting a PhD in Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. While I was there I learned to ring church bells in the English style known as "change ringing", and in 1991 I met my future husband there at a bell ringers' dinner-dance. He is English, and in 1995 I moved to England with him, and then to Scotland in 2000.

We share another unusual interest--flying in small planes. My husband got his private pilot's license in 1993 and I got mine ten years later. Together we have flown in the States from Kalamazoo to New Hampshire; in Kenya we've flown from Nairobi to Malindi, on the coast, and also all over southern England. Alone, most of my flying has been in eastern Scotland.

We have two children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook on May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley.

There are few books that leave me speechless.

This would be one of them.

I'll admit, I had my reservations in the beginning. The narrator RAMBLES like whoa. I mean, I was reading on a screen and I saw pages taken up by just two paragraphs and I thought "Swell, this is just going and going and I'm going to be bored to tears."

I wasn't. Not by a long shot.

Usually, if the narrator rambles, I get bored and lose interest. Not here. Sometimes I feel like narrators in YA lack a distinct voice, but-again-not here. Verity HAS VOICE. Verity HAS PRESENCE. Despite the fact that she tells her story from Maddie's point of view, talking about herself in the first person, I felt like I was seeing into Verity's soul. There was no doubt in my mind about the voice that was just flying off the pages, talking to my heart. She not only managed to win me over despite rambling, but also despite talking about herself in the third person, which is huge. (The third person thing makes sense later, but I can't say anything about that!)

Plus, I was expecting a pretty dark, dramatic book. It is both of those things, but imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing out loud multiple times while I was reading. While Verity is being held by the Gestapo. I was laughing. That's how spectacular Verity is. That's how strong she is. That's what this book is like.

I'd also like to give a brief shout out on a very touchy subject. Not only is Verity a rounded person, but the German Officer who interrogates her is also a rounded character. He isn't this mindless drone, which I found very refreshing and made the book even more real. It would have been so, so easy to stereotype this guy, but Wein didn't.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By H Waterhouse on August 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh. My.

When you read enough reviews that refuse to talk about the plot, you know there is a twist coming, but the twist ended up being other than what I expected, so thank you previous reviewers.

The VOICE in this book! The voiceS. I was riveted all through the book by how vivid and rich the conversations were. There are 24 highlights in this book, which is about double my usual rate, because I couldn't let phrases like
"You ignorant Quisling bastard, SS-Scharführer Etienne Thibaut, I AM SCOTTISH."
"Oh my sainted aunt! unlimited visibility! unlimited visibility except for the dirty great city in the northwest! That would be the dirty great city surrounded at 3000 feet by a few hundred silver hydrogen balloons as big as buses! How in the name of mud is he going to find Berlin if he can't find Manchester?"

Anyway, it's a war book. It's like many other war books for young readers, about the inhumanity of war and the humanity of the individuals writing it, and how jarring it is to try to understand all that together. I would unhesitatingly give this book to a middle-schooler. There is violence, but it is mostly by reference, and there is fear, the book is thick with it, but each of the main characters makes a list of things she is afraid of, and both of them include Failing Other People. I love books that are about being equally scared of dying and failing.

Fascinatingly, this is an entirely aromantic book. It's like everyone is so busy staying alive/fighting Nazis that they have all the mate-finding and sexual pursuit burned out of them. Except for one creepy handsy character, which I thought was a fascinating and unnecessary inclusion, but it models how to handle someone sexually pushy without becoming completely unhistorical.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Amy T on April 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Crap, friends. CRAP. This is one of those reviews that I have dreaded writing for a long while. I finished CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein nearly two months ago, and I've just sat down to write my review now. It's hard for me, sometimes, to gather the stones to tell you all that I didn't really like a book that is almost universally adored and that is, sadly, the situation I find myself in now. CODE NAME VERITY is so highly touted and so glowingly reviewed not only by the big trade magazines but by other bloggers and friends whose opinions matter to me that I wish I could say that perhaps my feelings towards Elizabeth Wein`s book are the product of my mood when I read it or some other excuse. Alas. My feelings of disappointment in CODE NAME VERITY are pretty real. I don't think I need to tell you how much that bums me out, but I will anyway: THIS IS A HUGE BUMMER. If it wasn't for the ending-say, the last 100 pages or so-I wouldn't even be able to tell you that I only LIKED CODE NAME VERITY, which I did. Like, but not love. Not really even close. Let's talk it out.

So, as you might already know, CODE NAME VERITY is the story of two young British girls during WWII who become involved with the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, one as a spy and the other as a pilot. One of the girls, Verity, does more of the spy thing and Maddie more of the flying thing. They develop a close friendship over the course of some time, so that when Verity and Maddie's plane crashes over France and Verity is taken prisoner, Maddie is distraught and eager to find her friend once she realizes what has happened to her. Meanwhile, Verity is in a Gestapo-run prison trying to barter for her life with secrets about British planes and airfields and any other juicy tidbits she might know.
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