Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)

by Elizabeth Wein

I am a wimp so I avoided reading this for three years because I was afraid of reading from the perspective of a U.S. spy being interrogated by the Gestapo in France during World War II.

On many levels, it isn’t an easy read despite the narrative not…quite….showing us the actual torture.

While I was confused a bit at the start as the story jumps right in with places, names, and situations I wasn’t familiar with, it slowly dawned on me that this was Verity/Julie herself telling the narrative of how she met her best friend and pilot and how she herself ended up in France as a confession to her torturers.

And the brilliance of Verity herself is the brilliance of the author. Verity/Julie is an unreliable narrator, and as she weaves truth and lies together, a picture emerges of an amazing friendship, the amazing bravery of small acts, and the ways women can help eachother fly.

“Keep Flying the Plane, Maddie.” ; “Kiss me quick, Hardy” These two phrases, by the end of the accounts of flying planes secretly across the channel, hiding out with the resistance, wire operators risking their lives, muddled ethics of collaboraters who may not be all what they seem, etc, gain an emotional resonance that is impossible to ignore.

Splendid, difficult, emotional, wonderful book. My pre-teen tried to read it and she was a bit confused. I would say that while the worst is implied and happens off-screen, some background knowledge on world war II and the political situation is necessary to understand since we are plunged right into Verity’s tale.