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Showing 11-20 of 565 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 885 reviews
on May 31, 2017
Not my preferred genre but this was for book club and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A gripping story about pilots and spies. It was very realistic and the characters were developed well, with lots of description. The events played on my mind a lot. It was hard to keep track of all the names at first but I liked this book.
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on December 18, 2014
This is an excellent, excellent book, and one best discovered without much information going in. If you are intrigued by the synopsis, and like to read about vivid characters, strong female friendships, and/or desperate stakes, I highly suggest you give it a try.

Some people report being bored by the beginning, which involves a lot of descriptions of flying, but I was hooked from the first page. Verity's voice leaps off the page at you, and only grows stronger as her narrative continues.

The rest of my praise would give too much of the game away, and this is a book best read unspoiled. So I shall refrain, much as I would love to gush.

Let me finish with this, because it's unusual for me. When I'm watching a movie or TV show, I cry at the drop of a hat. As soon as a character I like starts to tear up, I'm tearing up with them.

But books? I rarely cry while reading. I feel emotions, sure, but it's extremely rare for a book to make me laugh aloud, and no book has yet made me cry.

Code Name Verity came very, very close.
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on June 6, 2017
A clever telling of a friendship during World War II. Witty and wise, portraying the bravery and yearning for adventure that marked so many young women during that time, this book can be brutal at times. No candy-coated ending. I have found it to be quite haunting. However, I wouldn't have missed it.
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on October 3, 2013
Uhm, excuse me, but if you haven't read this book yet (which you probably have...this is another one I was late to the game on), you truly must rectify that immediately. I don't care if you are a Twi-hard or someone who would prefer to immerse himself in the three volume epic Winston Churchill biography (I won't mention any names), this book will appeal to anyone on the planet with any sense at all. This puppy blew me away, which doesn't happen too often. It is a WWII historical novel, but with a twist: it features women protagonists who are not just nurses or typists or evacuees, but actually fight on the front lines of the war itself (one of them is a pilot!).

The book is full of non-stop action that will leave you with little stubs for fingernails (if you have similar vices as me), but also has really compelling characters. It is the kind of book that stays with you for a long time after you finish it. I read it about four months ago actually and still think of it on the regular.

There is a major plot twist halfway through the book that will leave you hyperventilating (consider reading with a strong drink at your side, or a valium). I honestly can't say much more about the plot without giving that away. Holy HELL! This is so creative and well written. Elizabeth Wein is brilliant with voice: her characters sound unique and interesting and you just do not want this book to ever end. EVER! WHY DID YOU END IT, ELIZABETH?

Well I just Googled Ms. Wein and it looks like this is not her only book. Praise be. I will definitely be checking out her other work. GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS SUCKER IMMEDIATELY.

5 stars!!!
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on March 8, 2015
Originally reviewed at: http://www.shaelit.com/my-reviews/2012/05/review-code-name-verity-by-elizabeth-wein/

The book opens with a quote from the SOE Secret Operations Manual (that is, a secret spy book) – “Passive resisters must understand that they are as important as saboteurs.”

Oh my gosh, how I clung to that quote. I had to. Thanks to the synopsis, I knew Verity was going to write a confession. I just didn’t expect the confessing to start on the first freaking page. Eleven sets of top-secret wireless codes. She gave up ELEVEN SETS of top-secret wireless codes, and we find this out within the first few pages.

Elizabeth Wein is brilliant. I was so ticked off at our narrator, our Verity. I didn’t want to hear her whine about how she didn’t like being strapped up in her underwear or how cold she was or how hungry she was, because I was so incensed. I wanted to scream at her that she was a SPY, dagnabit! I was supposed to root for this collaborateur, this Scot that would make freedom-loving William Wallace flush with shame?

And because of that, I was hooked without even realizing it. I wanted this sniveling girl spy to prove herself to me.

So I read her confession with tight, scrutinizing eyes. She wrote about her pilot friend Maddie, about her friend’s life, how she became obsessed with airplanes, how they met. Mundane things, with valuable information such as airplane types and airfield locations sprinkled throughout.

Sounds a bit boring, right? But it wasn’t. Because in among the mundane things are details. Details about Verity and Maddie and their friendship. Details about Verity’s captors – Thibaut, Engel, and the foreboding SS-Hauptsturmfurher von Linden. Details about how Verity arrived in her prison and what she had to endure to be broken into the role of Nazi snitch.

And in those details, I started to root for her, even though I still didn’t trust her. I clung to the opening quote, hoping against hope that she wasn’t aiding, but instead passively resisting. You see, Verity has this voice. She’s a passionate, pugilistic Scotswoman, and her heart bleeds through every word. I would walk away to get a drink or have dinner or go to work and her voice would be in my head, whispering her truths.

How can you ever hope to remain unattached to someone who has set herself up so comfortably inside your own mind?

There are so many things that I can’t tell you about this book. Unlike Verity, who was bound at the ankles to a chair and forced to write, I found myself bound at the hands and unable to say what I wish.

I loved Verity, her voice, her passion. I loved that no one came away appearing one-dimensional or wholly good/bad. The Nazis were given human edges (I know, they’re evil, but they WERE human beings), the Allies weren’t sainted beings with halos for hats. I love Wein’s the use of the Peter Pan tale – I had forgotten how much affection I had for Mrs. Darling as a kid.

But mostly, I love that Wein chose to focus solely on Maddie and Verity’s friendship. There was no intrusive and unnecessary romance (though I firmly choose to hope that there’s a little something-something developing between two of the characters), no distracting inter-personal drama. In really tight friendships, it’s incredibly hard to pinpoint when the relationship passed from friends to soulmates, and that’s how it is with Verity and Maddie. It’s simply a no-holds-barred, head-over-heels, passionately loyal, iron-clad agape friendship between two girls willing to give their lives to save each other.

And that’s the honest-to-goodness truth.

Points Added For: Plot structure (just thinking about the work it must’ve taken to organize everything makes my head ache), plausibility (Maddie and Verity’s roles are historically accurate!), unbearable tension, terrific character voices, Mrs. Darling leaving the windows open, Jamie, a character named “Bloody Machiavellian British Intelligence Officer”, killer twists, an ultimately satisfying ending, the fact that it seems more New Adult than Young Adult (yes, I’m a bit giddy over that).

Points Subtracted For: Slow parts (especially in the beginning), making me cry, making me want to learn German (Spanish has first dibs, dagnabit!).

Good For Fans Of: Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (different war, but Wein has some fantastic descriptions, and neither author shies away from the costs of war; also, Maddie/Verity = Diana/Anne), Terrier by Tamora Pierce (same twisty epistolary style), The Young Underground series by Robert Elmer, WW2, espionage, Thelma+Louise/Frodo+Sam-type friendships.

Notes For Parents: Torture details (pins under fingernails, beheadings, immolations, etc.), molestation, unsettling deaths, heavy language (d’s, s’s, h’s, b’s, sob’s, and a smattering of f-bombs). [Note: The language is understandable given the circumstances, but it’s much heavier than anything I’ve reviewed, excepting Before I Fall].
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on July 5, 2017
Be warned...this is a difficult book to read. The author does not shy away from nor try to glamorize the events of the story, but thankfully, she is mostly NOT disgustingly graphic about it. I imagine that is a very difficult line to walk.

As appropriate to a story about the British SOE and the French Resistance, there are unexpected twists throughout that keep the narrative moving quickly. Her details about the planes and experiences flying them ring true (my hubby is a WWII plane enthusiast with books about each of the planes mentioned), as well as the details about the operations of the SOE...all of it seen through the eyes of two characters you will never forget.
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on June 19, 2013
Oh boy. I don't really know how to rate this amazing book without spoiling anything. I know that just sounds overused if you've read any of the other reviews, but it's true. The less you know, the better.

I don't normally review books on Amazon, but this one is special. Code Name Verity is sure to stick with me forever. The plot is essentially about two women fighting in World War II. However, as the story goes on, readers really come to understand that this is a story about friendship. Immediately after reading, you will want to call up your best friend and maybe go out to lunch or something. It may take you a few pages to really get into it, and at some points it may seem a bit tempting to just give up, but KEEP READING! Make it all the way to the end! Trust me, it's worth it. You will laugh and you will cry while reading this book, and once you finish, you'll want to experience all over again. This is one of those books where you can only read it for the first time once. Know what I mean? I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is beautifully written and has a wonderful meaning to it. READ IT!! NOW!! I can almost guarantee, you will fall in love with it just as much as I did.

Oh, and if you're planning to just buzz through Code Name Verity overnight, you've got a surprise coming! Take at least a good week to read this book to really absorb everything and the sheer brilliance of the characters. So what are you waiting for? Try it out for yourself.
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on August 28, 2015
Oh! My! Goodness! Many other reviewers have mentioned a twist at the end, but I was not prepared for this twist. I was completely blindsided. The year is 1945 and this is the story of two young British women who become friends. One is a pilot and one is an undercover agent. It is while on a secret mission into France that their plane crashes. Each thinks the other is dead. Julia, a.k.a. Verity, is caught by the Gestapo and forced to write down all she knows about British training. The first part of the book is her recollection and we learn their whole back story. Maddie, the pilot, is rescued by the French and keeps a journal telling of what happens to her and moves the story forward in the second half of the book. Eventually, their stories merge and then comes the twist! While the first part of the book moves a little slowly and seems to go on forever, it picks up with Maddie’s narrative. Then comes the twist and it becomes clear that the details were all hints to explain the final ending. So, dear reader, pay attention and stick with it. You won’t be disappointed!
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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2012
I can count the number of books that have left me in tears* using only one hand, and I can now count CODE NAME VERITY among those select few stories. Admittedly, my first attempt at reading it ended after only 34 pages. But, then the glowing reviews kept coming and I was determined to finish and see what I was missing out on. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. CODE NAME VERITY is a unique and skillfully woven tale of friendship in a time of war that will undoubtedly become a favorite story for many readers.

Part One is narrated by a girl with the code name Verity, while Part Two is narrated by a girl with the code name Kittyhawk**. Verity carefully bares her soul and secrets onto scraps of paper in exchange for more time to live, and gives out code in exchange for her clothes back. As she writes about the past and present, it's at first difficult to see how her stories about Maddie (a pilot and a friend of Verity's) will prove to be useful information to her cruel interrogators. Yet, with every new detail Verity reveals on each page, the story becomes more engaging and surprising. Kittyhawk's continuation of the story even strengthens the compelling aspect to the writing. In the end, CODE NAME VERITY is a story you shouldn't miss out on.

HIGHLIGHTS: Brilliantly written. When I reached Part Two, I realized how smart Verity's narration was as everything fell into place. Emotional and compelling, this is the kind of story that will linger in your thoughts. I love how developed the characters are, especially Verity and her firecracker personality. Setting, plot - everything was extraordinary. And, despite the amount of somber moments, there are many delightful ones too.

LOWLIGHTS: A bit disorientating in the beginning, and very slow moving.

FINAL RATING: 4.5 out of 5

* The last "KISS ME, HARDY!" scene got me good (quote doesn't mean what you may think it does). So heartbreaking. *looks for tissues*
** You learn both of their actual names with time.
*** Received eARC in exchange for honest review, and then purchased finished copy for Kindle.
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on January 1, 2017
Code Name Verity is a riveting, plot-twisty book that pretty much gives you ALL the feels. Wonderful, wonderful read. I was immediately caught up in the story from page one, the writing is beautiful, the story is compelling. But more than that—the twists in the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. It's partly a story of the women pilots in the Air Transport Auxillary during WWII, partly a story of spies and prisoners of war, and partly of the bonds of female friendship. I won't give away any spoilers, but the climax of the story is a HUGE stunning shock to the system, managing to be both very very right and horribly wrong. I felt literally shocked.

The story is told by Julie, a British spy captured in France by the Nazis, and alternates between what is happening to her at the moment (torture, deprivation, interrogation, threats), and the requested information that she is giving to SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer von Linden. Julie laments her cowardice in being unable to hold out, but continues to write down the story of herself and her best friend Margot the pilot (who died in the plane crash after Julie parachuted out safely).

The tension builds up to the momentous climax in a way that will keep you up to 3am, unable to put the book down. This is a book I know I will reread over and over.
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