Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Captured by the Gestapo after crash-landing in Nazi-occupied France, the main character of Code Name Verity is forced to write an account of what has happened to her. Keeping with this book’s sense of mystery and suspense, she is not named until much later on in the book.

The book itself is a written account that “Verity”, the main character, is forced to write for her captors. She must tell the Nazis what her mission is or face execution. Throughout the story, “Verity” slowly reveals the truth about how she got to France. She tells the tale of a close friendship between two girls – Maddie, who wants to be a pilot, and Queenie, a Scottish agent. “Verity’s” situation in the Nazi prison becomes more dire as the story unfolds.

Within the text, readers find a great deal of aviation terminology. Elizabeth Wein’s own interest in flying inspired her to write the book, and while the character Maddie is a pilot, the book also ended up developing in other ways. The jargon may be hard to swallow for some, but it is interesting from a historical perspective.

This book instantly comes to mind the second someone asks for a book recommendation. The question “What is your favorite book?” is hard for me to answer because I have so many favorites. With so many books being special in so many different ways, if I had to pick one book to answer that question, it would be this one.

It’s a book about close, life-changing friendship – a sensational team. It’s about a girl fighting for her life in desperate times. It left me terrified for the characters, furiously turning the pages, wondering what would happen next. Is there any way this situation can be resolved? Is there any way for this to end happily? Can these close friends beat the odds? At times I even gasped aloud as I read.

The book left me in tears – I will never again be able to think of the words “Kiss me, Hardy” without thinking of this book, without thinking about how gut-wrenching and devastating this certain moment of the book was. The story of Maddie and Queenie is sweet, sad, shocking, and suspenseful – a fantastic read. It will leave you feeling mournful but also knowing that “it is like falling in love, discovering your best friend.”

While the book is suspenseful, it is not extremely fast-paced. Some may find it to be dragging, but, in my opinion, this book is entirely worth a read, even if a reader finds historical fiction hard to get through.

This is the kind of book that makes you want to pick it up again and start over the instant you finish it. Code Name Verity is a book that resonates in your mind – it leaves your mind reeling, realizing how the tiniest detail came full circle and meant so much more than you originally thought. It’s the kind of book that stays with you days, months, and even longer after you finish it.

To find out more about Elizabeth Wein and her other works of literature, you can visit her website here.