Rachie3879’s #CBR5 Review #48: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


On Goodreads there are a couple of interesting things to note about Elizabeth Wein’s celebrated novel Code Name Verity. First, most folks are disinclined to really review the book for fear of spoiling. Second, it’s mysteriously classified as Young Adult. As regards my first observation: While I understand the difficulty in explaining the book and why it is so appealing without giving everything away, I don’t know if I find it that difficult to tell readers why it’s a great novel. I’m also perplexed as to why this is classified as YA lit on Goodreads. I don’t think my library has it as such. I’m not familiar with Wein, so perhaps that’s her normal genre. I suppose it’s possible, since I don’t recollect Wein describing either lead characters’ ages, that they are in their late teens; I just got the impression they were in their early-to-mid 20s. Does that classify as YA? I don’t know these things.

Does any of that really matter? Probably not. I loved this book and so should you. If you don’t, I guess that’s ok, but I will judge you silently. Code Name Verity tells the tale of two best friends, Maddie and *name withheld for spoilery-ness*, living in England during World War II. Both ladies are heavily involved in the war effort. Maddie is an aspiring pilot and ***** is a wireless operator cum spy for the British RAF. There’s more to it than that but when you pare things down to essentials, that’s all you need to know. This story is about a beautiful friendship between two strong, multi-faceted British women and their struggles to survive one of the most horrific experiences in recent history.

Wein’s writing is thoughtful and provokes myriad emotions, though I do expect there aren’t many WWII stories that don’t elicit wonder, heartbreak, and admiration from me. I guess that’s my major caveat to this whole review. Anyone who has read my reviews over this past year knows I have a penchant for period pieces (say that five times fast), especially British ones. But though there have been many stories from this time period, I don’t recall having read that many regarding the roles allotted to women of the time, if they weren’t nurses,  in a factory, or staying at home with their children. Maddie and her friend’s story is new, to me at least, and is thoroughly enjoyable.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book. It’s quite admirable that Wein has chosen to write what many have labeled YA without one of the worst clichés of the genre: a love triangle. I guess that is somewhat spoilery but really it shouldn’t matter. This story is about two women and their friendship, and men don’t really come into the picture at all; that felt like a brave choice on Wein’s part. Read this, seriously.

Even Stevens’s #CBR5 review #19 – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Now this, folks, THIS is how you do a book right. Code Name Verity is set during World War II and tells the story of two friends, Queenie and Maddie. Queenie, a Scottish girl serving in the British army, is captured in Germany and in her captivity, she is allowed paper to write down her story, telling both how she came to be in the position she was and how she and Maddie became friends.

I don’t want to reveal much more of the story for fear of spoiling it, and plus, Queenie tells it a heck of a lot better anyways. Queenie is a fierce little thing whose Scottish accent (and temper) comes out when she gets angry. Even though the novel is written in epistolary form, which I find sometimes to be static and one-sided, you get a great sense of who Queenie is and there is a great deal of humor, suspense, heart and drama.

I loved every page of this book and I knew going into it that there would be a twist or two, but this book had more loops than a roller coaster. I’m one of those people who likes to try to figure out what the plot twists are going to be, and while I got some, Wein certainly threw a few curveballs at me that I did not see coming and she hit it out of the park (hey look, a baseball analogy!).



What I really and truly loved about Wein’s writing style is that she just kept the twists coming and when the big scene comes, the one where you wait for the miraculous twist, you just know it’s coming… it doesn’t come. That scene sucker punched me right in the gut. I’m actually tearing up just writing about it, so kudos for that, Ms. Wein



This is a book that I need to read over again so I can piece in the information that is revealed later on. And when the time comes for that re-read, I will do so with pleasure. Basically, this book is wonderful. The characters are wonderful, the story is wonderful, the mystery and intrigue are wonderful, so go read it and see for yourself.

Jen K’s #CBR5 Review #95: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This was such a great novel! I was very impressed with the story and how much research the author incorporated into the book. The novel begins with the written confession of “Verity,” or Queenie as she refers to herself, a British agent captured in France by German agents. After being tortured, she has agreed to give the Germans the information they want and has already revealed codes. Given her status, she knows she has very little time left before she dies, and realizes that once they have her confessions she will likely die or get sent somewhere even worse than the Gestapo headquarters. As a result, her confessions may seem a bit long, chronicling her friendship with Maddie, an English pilot, before she finally reveals more about herself and her mission, but her captors are both impatient and oddly tolerant of her tangents. The commander of the Gestapo frightens Queenie but often surprises her with his knowledge of literature, even stating that she is a student of the novel, and writing her story in that way. Queenie does an amazing job of telling her and Maddie’s story while interspersing her present day predicament and the fear she faces.

Full Review.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #72: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

This book is a companion novel to Elisabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity. You don’t need to have read that book to understand this one, but you should anyway, because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in years. And you like good books, don’t you?

Rose Justice is a young American woman, working for the ATA in Britain during World War II. She made friends among the other ATA pilots, she’s dating a young soldier, and she writes poetry in her spare time. Her job is to taxi planes to various locations, and is on an out of the ordinary mission to France, when her plane is captured by the Germans, and she is sent to Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp during the autumn of 1944. As very little news of the camps was actually released during the war, and what little came out was usually so horrifying that people didn’t think it could be true, Rose has no idea what she’s in for.

More on my blog.