Monday, July 30, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

TITLE: Code Name Verity 
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Wein
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Doubleday Canada/2012
GENRE: YA, Historical Fiction
SOURCE: Local Library

Goodreads / Author's Website

How do you start reviewing a book in which each and every word you write could spoil something? That's the issue I'm struggling with right now, trying to review Code Name Verity. I read glowing review after glowing review of this book and was pretty pleased when it came in at my library. The waiting list took forever. I read it. I devoured it. It was pretty damn amazing, but I have no idea how to write about it. 

I guess I'll just trust some tried and true cliches and start from the beginning. So Code Name Verity is about two women involved in the Second World War. They work with air crafts, espionage, codes, wires, radios, you name it. It's about all the little details of the war, but more importantly it's about their friendship. It starts with one woman's story. She's been captured by the Gestapo in France and is writing out her story as a form of collaboration. That's what we're told. The details come into focus slowly.

It's not a book that's action packed and honestly, it didn't grab me right off the bat. I kept at it because well women, spies, unconventional jobs and female friendship are all themes that are pretty awesome. I'm so glad I listened to every other reviewer out there and kept going. About halfway through the book I didn't want to put it down. 

I knew going in, just given the subject matter, that game changers would be thrown at me continuously throughout the book and it was at about the halfway point that I needed to know what exactly they were. Wein kept me guessing and I thank her for that. 

I really appreciated the historical accuracy she brought to the book. She focused so much on details and while their were some inaccuracies (this is a work of fiction after all) she acknowledges them. She even draws attention to them in her afterwords. That having been said, this book is far more accurate than many fictional takes on history which I love. I really appreciated that. This is a book that makes me want to continue reading about female war work during WW2. I focused a lot of my historical studies on women working in war, but I want to know more with a focus on female pilots. It takes a special book to make me want to keep studying something I just put down with graduation. 

I really think everybody should at least give this book a chance. It's such an engaging story. The women's friendship is inspiring and they are both such compelling characters. Even without the historical accuracy I would still enjoy a story about these two women. The twists and turns keep you guessing and although it's a slow story it is so worth it in the end. 

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