Customer Review

142 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most powerful books I've read, May 17, 2012
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Edgar Allen Poe Awards. Best Young Adult (Awards)) (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. She MADE IT REAL.

You have no idea how hard it is not to comment on the second half of the book. I literally don't know how to write about that. I'll admit, personally here I found the voice weaker and several things too rushed, but at the same time I can't imagine certain events having differently, not if they still wanted to be real. The ending is very bittersweet, so I suppose my mixed feelings are supposed to be there.

And trust me, all of my feelings are there.

I could get technical. I could. I could talk for ages about the rambling, the technicalities, and the story tangents that don't make sense til the second half of the book. With any other book, I would. But with this one, I just can't. Code Name Verity was just one of those books.

A good book is fun to read. A good book takes you to a new place for a time, but then you put it down and you go on with your life. Code Name Verity was not a good book.

Code Name Verity was a great book.

It was the kind of book with images, words and ideas that get under your skin. The kind of story that melts into your heart. It was an experience that is with you long after you've closed the book. THAT is the kind of story that comes with Code Name Verity.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 17, 2012 11:46:34 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 2:49:37 PM PDT
Nica says:
Great review by Gretchen but I hope this was not a spoiler: "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"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2013 10:42:13 AM PDT
EMC says:
I felt the same way, this sounds a bit spoilerish...Perhaps Gretchen could edit this line just a bit to not mention any names for the point of view..

Posted on Mar 13, 2013 7:10:18 PM PDT
Jane Seemore says:
Queenie (Verity) talks about herself in the 3rd person not the 1st person as stated by Gretchen.

Posted on Mar 26, 2013 7:54:59 PM PDT
J. V. Miller says:
I just finished Code Name Verity and it is, without question, one of the best reads I've had in years. It was ugly, painful, raw and uplifting, joyful and challenging all at once. This is a book I shall read again and again, maybe even tomorrow. This is a book I will recommend again and again. Not for the faint-hearted, but for those of us who love to see real humanity on the written page. Thank you, Elizabeth Wein. You made me cry----for real---not just in my head, but you made me laugh and cheer as well. A small book with a huge impact on my thinking.

Posted on Dec 9, 2013 6:58:40 PM PST
reader3 says:
No need for me to write a new review - you said everything I would have said. Borrowed this from the library, and now need to go buy it to add to my collection of favorites.
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