Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
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.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
My brain cannot fathom the wonder that is Code Name Verity. It just can't.
This book. This book is just stunningly ineffable.
I cannot describe how amazing it is.
I utterly and unendingly adore Code Name Verity.
Let me attempt to explain, without spoilers.
(This will be difficult, because practically anything involving the entire second half of the book is one huge spoiler.)
Goodness, I seriously don't know what to say, because I really want to spoil things. So I think I will.
If you haven't read the book, go read it now and then come back and read the rest of this post below the spoiler line. Just go read it because it is so good. SO GOOD.
(Because I clearly haven't mentioned that yet.)
And I know just saying IT'S SPECTACULAR and flailing about because of its awesomeness isn't a very good way to recommend a book.
So I will tell you something that actually means something:
Code Name Verity is the first non-classic to make it to my mental "Excellent" list.
That right there is a big deal, friends. That shows how highly I rank it.
I really think that it will be a classic in time. Seriously.
Okay, now is the time for you to dash off and read CNV if you haven't yet.
Everything below might potentially have a spoiler because I am just going to let loose.
(Comments are a possible spoiler-thriving zone, so don't read them if you haven't yet read the book. You can comment, just don't read the others. I'm not going to ask for no spoilers in the comments, particularly for this book.)
First: Because it is all written as a journal, we get such a good view of the characters. Julie's half of the book is totally different from Maddie's half. They have their individual voices, and I always respect any author knows their own characters so well.
Also, it's amazing how good of a view of the other characters we get through our two narrator's eyes.
Jamie is a spectacular example of this. He is awesome. I adore him. :-)
Von Linden in another example, because he's evil but that's not all he is. He has a daughter and he likes literature. His Gestapo actions don't define him - he's deeper than that.
And then there's Engel. What I find amazing is that Julie gets us to hate her, and then as we read Maddie's half, we realize she's not so bad after all. Which takes us perfectly into...
THAT TWIST. Oh my gosh I totally flipped when I found out that the whole first part was full of LIES. I had to go back and glance at the underlined words and find all the places that Maddie used when figuring out how to infiltrate the prison where Julie was prisoner.
Usually when I read, I tend to take everything that a first-person narrator says as hard fact. Or at least as their interpretation of the facts. But never ever would I have expected a narrator to make things up! I can safely say that that twist was one that I would never, ever have expected. Especially because it was written as a journal, and a journal is something that I think I can trust, right?
(Apparently not anymore.)
The journal style also really pulled me into a book more than usual. Books are supposed to make you feel like you're there, right? Well CNV did, except magnify the thereness by 20. Reading over that last sentence, I realize that sounded wierd, but I don't know how to explain this. I hope you understand. :-)
There is so much more to CNV that made it perfect, but it's super hard to articulate it all.
I adore it, and will definitely read more of Wein's books soon, especially Rose Under Fire. I heard Maddie comes back in that one. YAY!
I'm guessing if you've come this far you've already read Code Name Verity. Tell me what you thought!