Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Pages: 343
Release Date:  May 15th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, June 22nd - July 2nd
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  14+

Verity is not her real name.  They don't know her real name, who she's been and what she's done.  But they will.  Soon, they will, because she will tell them.  But as her captors, torturers, get her to tell more and more of her story, and Verity wonders what happened to Kittyhawk when they were separated, the truth is slowly revealed.  Verity and Kittyhawk will never be the same.

I adore this book.  And while that phrase seems a bit too...tame for the grittiness that is Code Name Verity, I seriously love it.  I'll be sure to buy it someday soon, and read it again, because I definitely want this on my shelf.  Over the last months since I read it, it has come back to me again and again.  I think now I appreciate it even more than when I first read it.  It has stuck with me, and I've decided - it's one I will buy for my children.  I will recommend it to everyone.  It's just one of those books.  Everyone needs to read it.

Everyone.  This is not something that I take lightly.  I have never recommended a book to just "everyone" before.

Granted, the story started out slow.  But not slow in a way that bored me.  Instead, it fascinated me.  The story of Verity and her best friend, who they met, how close they became, the fears they expressed to each other...  If I hadn't had this kind of intro to who they were together, I wouldn't have understood them when they were separated.

Elizabeth Wein's writing is very beautiful.  Simple, great for this type of book.  And still, she brought across a great power through her writing.  If you know to start out your story with "I AM A COWARD" then you've got something good going for you.  There are SO MANY quotes from this book that I remember that move in particular.  If you've read the book, you know exactly which one I'm talking about.

Verity is definitely my favorite.  I loved absolutely everything about her: her weaknesses, her strength, her guilt and sorrow and pain and love and the small joys she spoke of in her report.  She's complex and just...stunning.  Yes that's exactly the word for her: stunning.  Her fears, how they changed over the course of the book, made her more real to me than ever.  And how smart she was!  So...elegant.

Kittyhawk was a neat character as well.  It's her side of the story that's hardest to read about, and she makes the perfect impression for it.  Her bravery, selflessness, and unconditional love (yes - unconditional) blew me away.
At first I was a little bummed when the story switched to Kittyhawk halfway through.  I was invested in Verity's brilliance, and I didn't want to leave.  But I'm so glad it switched.  I can't say anymore than that.  But I am SO. GLAD.

There's a lovely cast of side characters (or, not so lovely, if you please).  Von Leowe and James, in particular, are an excellent addition to this story.

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend."  (Can't remember the page number!)

There are few things in life greater than having a best friend.  I can say that with full confidence, especially since my best friend was gone in Panama for a month during the summer.  (Side note:  If your best friend is leaving town for a  bit, choose another book to read while he/she is gone...  If you read this, anxiety will ensue.)
Reading a story about best friends, with no romance or stupid drama getting int he way, is just...amazing.  Touching.  Sincere.  I loved every single minute of it, even when the story was slower going.  Because it did have its slow moments.  Again, that's not to say it was boring - not at all!  The pace in the lingering kind, the one you only want to read for 15-30 minutes a day because you want it to last.  It's so beautiful.

I didn't really appreciate all the talk about planes because it was written like the reader should already know all this stuff.  It makes sense, seeing as Verity and Kittyhawk were pilots and/or worked with planes, but it made my head spin a bit, trying to keep up.

Now, let me tell you - you have to keep reading!!!  Even if you have no idea where it's taking you - just go with it!  Everything ties together.  Everything.  It will blow your mind and shatter your heart into a gazillion tiny little pieces.  And then you'll realize you're still living, breathing, feeling, and that you just read something life changing.

(I promise, I'm not exaggerating!)

River-crying material.  Yup - that is this book.  I have cried - like full-on tears - TWICE while writing this review, over two days.  I hope everyone takes a break from other genres to read this incredible historical fiction worthy of every shelf!

For the Parents -
Violence - toward the end.  Brief strong language and reference to torture.  Recommended 14+.


  1. I'm so close to crying again just reading your wonderful review. I'm SO happy you loved this book as much as I did. It's just...words can't do it justice. It's a beautiful book.

  2. I've heard good things about this book. I need to check it out!

    Clean Teen Fiction

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  3. YAY!! Ok, your comment means so much to me! I was like, If I want anyone to read this, it's Small! Because you were the one who wrote the review that made me want to read it! :) So thank you thank you thank you!!!

  4. awww thank YOU! I love hearing that :D

  5. It's fantastic! Really, definitely check it out! :D

  6. Thanks for this review, Sierra! I probably wouldn't have discovered this book if not for you. It was soo good!