― Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity
Goodreads Rating: 4.13 Stars
I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.
That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.
He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.
We are a sensational team.
First off, this novel is historical fiction and set in WWII, which, if I’m being completely honest, is my least favorite time in history, simply because it’s so damn sad. While I love historical fiction, I find that WWII historical fiction focuses so much on the Holocaust/Jews aspect of it, which is just way too heartbreaking for me, or it focuses on the WAR as in THIS IS A WAR BOOK and there’s far too much fighting and dying and violence and technical terms.
This novel was NOT THAT. First off, it’s written from two points of view, WHICH I LOVE. First is Queenie’s (Julie, Verity… they have so many code names!) point of view, and she writes from prison where she is captured by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France after her plane goes down. She is supposed to be writing a full confession, including as much as she knows about the British War Effort. This, unfortunately, leads to a lot of aviation terminology and some drudgery. It also introduces us to Maddie Brodatt, who is a pilot and quickly becomes Queenie’s best friend. Throughout Queenie’s portion of the book, it’s hard to really sympathize with her. Sure, she is quirky and funny and seriously engaging. However, all of the other prisoners despise her because she is writing a full-blown confession with details and code revealed to the Germans.
Then the novel switches to Maddie’s point of view, picking up from the time of the plane crash. Here is where things get really interesting. Much is revealed about Queenie’s confession. That’s all you get about the second half so I am not spoiling anything!
Honestly, this novel showed what true friendship means, as well as put WWII into a new light for me. The bravery and heroism of the War generation was astounding. I have no idea if I could live through that and go through what those girls went through with such dedication and still come out making jokes and living a life. I wasn’t expecting to like this novel so much. It’s one of those $6 books at Target that is worth so so so much more!
Who do I recommend this to? Everyone. Although it’s a “YA” novel, these characters are relatable, hilarious, brave, strong, and loyal. Honestly, it’s hard to describe this novel in words because it is so touching and heartfelt and different from anything else I’ve read. It is going to go up there with Gone Girl and The Fault in Our Stars as books that I will recommend to anyone who is looking for a good read.
“I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old.”
“But a part of me lies buried in lace and roses on a riverbank in France-a part of me is broken off forever. A part of me will be unflyable, stuck in the climb.”
“But I have told the truth. Isn’t that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth.”
“FLY THE PLANE, MADDIE.”
“A whore, we’ve established that, filthy, it goes without saying, but whatever else the hell I am, I AM NOT ENGLISH.”
“It’s awful, telling it like this, isn’t it? As though we didn’t know the ending. As though it could have another ending. It’s like watching Romeo drink poison. Every time you see it you get fooled into thinking his girlfriend might wake up and stop him. Every single time you see it you want to shout, ‘You stupid ass, just wait a minute,’ and she’ll open her eyes! ‘Oi, you, you twat, open your eyes, wake up! Don’t die this time!’ But they always do.”