Audio Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Age Group: Teen
Source: Library
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary from GoodReads:

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? 

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.


5 out of 5

My Thoughts

One of the best things about starting this blog, is that I have been trying books that are way outside my comfort zone.  Books like Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and now Code Name Verity.  This is definitely not a book I would have ever picked up on my own.  As a librarian, I read a fair amount of professional reviews, so I know Code Name Verity was highly praised, but this book looked way too intense, and emotional for me.  But then I kept seeing other bloggers just gushing and gushing about this book, so I was sort of feeling lame for not reading it (me being a bad book blogger).  And then Rose Under Fire popped up on Netgalley, and I was approved for it.  I knew I needed to read Code Name Verity before Rose Under Fire, and I knew Rose Under Fire was highly coveted, so I know I need to read that.  And holy cow, I am so glad that I read Code Name Verity.

Okay, so my thoughts.  I’m not really sure what to say.  This book was unbelievably phenomenal.  When you start reading Code Name Verity, I don’t think you really have any idea and where it’s going to venture.  Verity is writing her story down for the Gestapo in occupied France in exchange for a relief from the torture she has been through the last six weeks.  I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to handle the whole torture aspect.  And I’m not going to lie, at times my stomach turned at the thought of anyone going through what Verity had to.  Not just the physical torture, but the emotional torment as well.  But it never got too much for me, either.  Wein gave just the right amount of information for us to understand what Verity was going through, but she never went into excruciating detail.  Also, the way this information was given (Verity explaining what happened usually after the fact) helped me not become too stressed about it.

Listening to Verity tell the story of how she and Maddie became best friends was really beautiful.  I’ve never been one to highlight favorite quotes from books, but one stood out so much that I immediately added it to my GoodReads Favorite Quotes.  In case you’re wondering what line I fell in love with here it is: “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”  This phrase – I love it so much.  I love what it means, and I love how perfect it fits into this story.  Every word, really, in this book is wonderful.

I mentioned above that at first you think you know where this story is heading, and what it’s all about.  But actually there are other things going on that we don’t realize until later on in the story.  I don’t mean that this is like Harry Potter or anything, but when you finish this story, and learn all you’re going to, it’s freaking awesome.  And you want to read it again immediately to pick up on all the stuff you missed on the first read.

One of the most wonderful things about Code Name Verity is that it is about the friendship between two women.  And not the story of two girls who have arguments and don’t like each other, but then decide they do.  It’s about two women who become best friends and love each other like true best friends do.  There is no cattiness hear.

This is such an emotional story.  I am so glad I decided to read this by listening to the audiobook, although hearing the emotion in the voices almost makes this story more emotional.  This is a fantastic audiobook production, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Okay, so, yeah, I am joining the Code-Name-Verity-is-one-of-the-best-books-ever club!  I’m still thinking about this book days after finishing it.  So much of this book was heart wrenching (intensely so), but there are also parts that made me smile, and even cheer for Maddie and Verity during such terrible situations.  I cannot recommend this book enough, and I know I will be pulling it out of my readers’ advisory librarian bag regularly.  (actually, I already have recommended it to patrons, but of course my library’s copy has been checked out).  And now my two favorite books I’ve read this year are both in the teen historical fiction genre: Code Name Verity and Eleanor & Park.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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7 Responses to Audio Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  1. When I first heard of this book, I thought “nah, this isn’t my type.” I’m quite picky when it comes to teen historical fiction books. But reading your thoughts about it, I wanted to see Maddie and Verity’s friendship and wanted to know how the story is put into words. I can’t wait to read this book myself!! Beautiful review!!

  2. I need to read this now!

  3. Yay I’m glad you joined the Code Name Verity appreciation club! 🙂 Everything you mentioned here is also a reason why I ended up loving this book so much. I was so, so happy Wein really had no romance at all, instead focusing on friendship. I feel like other relationships do tend to get shunted to the side in YA books in favor of romance, but this. This relationship between Verity and Maddie is far, far better than any romance could have been with either of the girls. I just love the complexity given to their characterizations and can’t wait to read Rose Under Fire!

  4. Welcome to the club!!! I actually adored this book. We read it for book club a few months ago and none of the other women in my group liked it. Like what? What is wrong with you?! I think what I loved best about this one is that it’s women-centered… but like you said, no cattiness or what have you that women books sometimes can contain. This was about two women, risking their lives, becoming friends, and sacrificing themselves for something greater. Hands down, one of the best I’ve read. I’m currently reading Rose Under Fire and it’s just as good! Luckily, you don’t really have to read Code Name Verity first, but I imagine it gives you a much better appreciation for the story if you do!

  5. Isn’t it amazing when we come across books we love when we don’t expect it? I’ve also read some books I’d normally wouldn’t pick up and I’m so happy that the blogging world introduced me to them. I still feel sorry that I didn’t bought this book when I saw it in the secondhand bookshop.. Awesome review 🙂


  6. Kritika says:

    I loved this book! I agree that I immediately wanted to go back and reread the whole thing once I got to the second part of it. The friendship was so beautiful :’)
    Here’s my review.

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