Best Book Read in June: CODE NAME VERITY

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 | 15 comments

This week’s YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday asks:

What’s the best book you read in June?

My answer? Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity.

From Goodreads:

code name verityI 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.

Like The Sky is Everywhere, Code Name Verity is a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up if it wasn’t for all the hype.

Code Name Verity deserves its hype. This is no run-of-the-mill YA novel. The settings and WWII details are vivid, the pace leisurely, and the story focuses on the beauty of friendship rather than romance.

What I loved most about Elizabeth Wein’s writing was the way she handled plot twists. Code Name Verity is famous for its twists, and I spent most of the novel trying to anticipate them (which I couldn’t). Wein surprised me multiple times, but what most impressed me was the way she respected the reader’s intelligence regarding those twists. She didn’t beat you over the head with new information—Look! Did you see what I did there?—just wrote it down and moved on. As a reader, you’re left to work out the impact of each twist on your own, and that was really refreshing.

Code Name Verity is historical YA, but at times it felt more like an adult book to me. The pace is slow, some of the content brutal, and it’s absent of YA clichés. I can imagine older / more mature teens enjoying it, but not so much the younger end of the YA spectrum.

Have you read Code Name Verity? What did you think?

15 Comments

  1. I’d been looking at this, but really wasn’t sure… Thank you for your review – it’s now on my ‘to read’shelf and I’m sure I’ll pick it up before too long 🙂

    • Oh, yay, thanks Soph! It isn’t a quick read, but if you’ve got the patience for it it’s definitely worth it in the end. x

  2. Sounds like an interesting read that I will definitely have to check out. Great review Kendra.

  3. I tried to read this but just couldn’t get into the story 🙁 Might try again sometime, I’ve heard it’s an awesome book.

    • It does take a little getting into. I wasn’t sure about it until the final third or so.

  4. One of the things that has, of late, annoyed me about *some* of my YA reading is the apparent need for romance to be highlighted–as if the author is trying to write to some kind of “YA playbook” that says there has to be romance, and it has to be clear, obvious, and in-your-face. We all know that YA novels don’t have to have romance, and if there is romance, it doesn’t have to be clunky (“I gasped as his hand brushed against mine while we worked together to defuse the nuclear warhead…”). It sounds like this is a book I need to read soon! Thanks, Kendra. 🙂

    • Haha Colin, love it! 🙂 If you like historicals and aren’t into romance then Code Name Verity is definitely for you.

  5. I LOVED Code Name Verity. The WWII setting, the characters, the friendship, even the tears I ugly cried. It’s definitely one I want to reread again someday.

    I actually prefer my books to have some romance in them, and I often don’t love a book as much when it doens’t have some sort of element of romance, even a small one. But that didn’t matter at all with CNV.

    • I’m the same—I’d rather a book have some romance than none (sorry, Colin!). I was actually hoping a little passion might develop between two of the characters, but it didn’t matter than it didn’t.

      • That’s okay, Kendra–to each their own. I can put up with romance in YA, because I know romance is a part of the “YA experience.” I prefer it to be more subtle, though, and given time to develop. And if it’s not central to the plot, I don’t expect page after page, chapter after chapter of hearts-beating-against-chests and hand brushes and the narrator picking up on every slight gesture of his/her love interest. 🙂

        Sorry to hijack your comment, Melanie. 🙂

  6. This book is going on my to read list now. Thanks for the recomendation.

  7. I haven’t read this, mostly because of the WWII setting. I have to be in a certain frame of mind for that kind of book (I’m emotionally sensitive, okay? Sniff sniff). I’ll have to keep this one in mind the next time I’m in the mood for some historical fiction.

  8. I absolutely adore that book! I heard of it from the hype but I’m a sucker for WW2 historicals so I thought it would be right up my alley anyway. Generally when I hear a lot of praise over a book I’m skeptical because I rarely see those books live up to my inflated expectations. But CNV met my expectations and then blew them all away. It’s one of my favorite books.

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