When I first heard all the buzz surrounding Code Name Verity, I was completely on board with a tale of girl pilots and spies in WWII. However, I wasn’t prepared for a story that could be charming, riveting, and harrowing all at the same time. Elizabeth Wein’s latest novel keeps you on your toes and packs an assortment of emotional wallops, but it’s well worth the bitten fingernails and tears, not to mention your daily duties going out the window as you devour page after page, because it’s fantastically written and unlike anything you’ve read before.
The story opens in 1943 with a captured British spy agreeing to spill everything she knows to the Gestapo in order to buy back her clothes and avoid further torture. A written “confession” is required, which she can best manage in English. She’s supposed to record everything she knows about the British War Effort, but she has a habit of ranting and digressing, much to the annoyance of the translator. Her Nazi captor indulges most of it, however, because she happens to be a very entertaining storyteller.
Our spy provides the required details by telling the story of her best friend Maddie, a female pilot and fellow member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. Her deep affection for Maddie is endearing, and this combined with her clever and often humorous narration make it easy for the reader to forget that by writing this confession she is betraying her country.
The second half of the book is told from Maddie’s POV, and to give any more detail than that may well spoil the story for you. Let me just assure you this engaging and unpredictable book features all the things that make a story wonderful: adventure, danger, mystery, and at its core, such a profound bond between two characters that my eyes are welling up as I write this.
Code Name Verity is easily the best book I’ve read this year. Do read it yourself and tell me what you think!
In the meantime, check out the lovely trailer: