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Code Name Verity (Edgar Allen Poe Awards. Best Young Adult (Awards)) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth E. Wein
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (402 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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

Review

'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 '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

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most powerful books I've read 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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great war books 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."
and
"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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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked but not loved. SPOILERS! November 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover
This is one of those books that's almost impossible to talk about without revealing plot elements, and that's most enjoyable to discover as you go. So, if you think you'd like a young-adult novel starring two women--one a pilot, one an intelligence officer--in WWII, and you don't like spoilers, you should probably avoid all reviews (mine included) and just read it.

Now for the review.

Overall, Code Name Verity is an enjoyable book. The story is gripping, with tension and danger throughout--naturally enough, as one of the protagonists spends the book as a Nazi prisoner. The characters are fairly vivid, and I enjoyed reading about a pair of tough, capable women. I was unaware of the role of women pilots in England's Air Transport Auxiliary during the war, and so especially enjoyed reading about Maddie's advancement as a pilot. The author, a pilot herself, does a great job of communicating her love of flight, and her clear knowledge of planes adds verisimilitude. Wartime England and occupied France are both brought to life, and the writing style is adequate without drawing attention to itself.

Two criticisms then. First, I liked the idea of the main characters' friendship better than its depiction; they seem to leap right from getting acquainted to undying sisterhood, with readers missing a step somewhere along the way.

Second, there are the myriad problems with the epistolary format. The first 2/3 or so of the book is supposed to be written by Julie, the captured intelligence officer, as a "confession" for her captors. Unreliable narrators are fun and this keeps the reader guessing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing
Interesting perspectives on a topic of many novels (WWII). Our YA bookclub had some great discussion about how relatable these characters were for young adults, but perhaps that is... Read more
Published 2 days ago by ActiveReader
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites!
Wow....another YA book that I fear may be under-appreciated and wasted on its target audience (okay maybe not ALL of them!). Read more
Published 2 days ago by Marianne G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Role of women pilots during WW!!
An excellent historical novel about the role of women pilots during WW!! in Brittain. I'm a fan of all things WW!!, and this was an aspect with which I was not familiar.
Published 2 days ago by Carol K. Sackett
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This book was my pick for our book club this month, and I'm glad I picked it. I wanted to use the audio to help refresh my memory of the story line, but I believe I enjoyed it... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Gerhardine
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!!!
I wasn't sure what to think of Code Name Verify at the beginning. You know almost immediately that things are not going to be pretty for a while, but then at the half way point... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Biz Tanner
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb piece of work
Originally seen at The Bookish Owl ([...])

If you regularly read my blog, you’ll know that I really love historical fiction especially those set during World War II. Read more
Published 6 days ago by The Bookish Owl
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
I loved it! Such a fantastic portrayal of what it means to be best friends and women who fought in world war 2.
Published 8 days ago by Samantha
5.0 out of 5 stars marvelous. a tearjerker
well written. especially poignant for a person my age (87) who remembers the war. important to know more about the English women's involvement in those trying times.
Published 10 days ago by Constance M Hamel
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow but good.
A tale of friendship. This book meets the criteria for a young adult novel. It moved a little slow and it is fiction about a factual event so it is entertaining but sad. Read more
Published 10 days ago by ElizabethReads
5.0 out of 5 stars You want to cry for days, read this book!
But a part of me lies buried in lace and roses on a riverbank in France-a part of me is broken forever. A part of me will always be unflyable, stuck in the climb. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Athena
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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.

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