Thursday, May 17, 2012

BR: Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

I snatched up this book on netgalley after Steph Su's tweet about it, so yeah, thanks Steph. And I went into it not knowing anything (didn't even know it was historical fiction!)

Summary (goodreads)

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-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer 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.

My Expectations: uhm.. what expectations? I'm not kidding when I say I went into this blind.
Delivery: duuuuude. DUUUUDE how did I not know of this book before?! Amazing!
Put-down-ability: there is quite a bit of technical talk (well, to me) but second half was un-put-down-able. 2/10

My Thoughts

This is the type of book that when I open a word doc to write my review, all that is running through my head is “how do I explain all the feelings I have? ALL THE FEELS.”

I really did love this book. Like, I fell hard for it maybe a third of the way in, we had a flirty little on-and-off affair throughout the middle chunk, and by the end of it I was completely committed and head over heels. Code Name Verity is a historical fiction YA that I hope will get much more buzz from here on out (I must have missed all those starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, PW, NY Times, etc…) because it deserves it completely.

It’s essentially a story of a friendship between two girls, 'Queenie' and Maddie, and it’s told in such a unique format where small anecdotes colour in a greater tapestry of their friendship and their story and sufferings are explained through written documents. I honestly didn’t know anything going in to this book, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t.

I initially didn’t like Queenie. Okay, I said it. I mean, she’s writing a confessional in which she’s doing a tell-all and I wasn’t really sure what was going on. Sure, I’m not the biggest fan of rats and betrayal, but then again, this girl’s life is ticking away, who’s to say she isn’t allowed to bargain for more time? I thought the beginning was kind of clipped, there were scenes jumping around between the present and the past so it was jarring when I was trying to get a feel of the book. However, Queenie really comes into her own and grows into a strong, vibrant, beautiful character.

Kiss me, Hardy.

You should read the book to see what I’m referencing.

Halfway through, something happens (and since I suck at predicting anything, I was completely surprised) and then everything I had originally thought came undone. My jaw-dropped multiple times as the full picture gradually became revealed, and I don’t really want to spoil anything else, just know that it was like boom boom boom no way dude tears whaaaa wait what noooo ahhh omg tears.


There are so many things that make this novel stand out, one is how authentic it felt. The author put a tremendous amount of research to making the novel as historically accurate as possible, and while I’m not familiar with most things RAF etc, I thought small details just added to the overall richness of the story. There is a fair large amount of talk about piloting and things related to it, and I’ll be first to admit I really zilch about this topic (apart from the Battle of Britain, but that’s for another time) but I’m kind of fascinated by it—which might be why I liked it more than others. I have read how other people didn’t care for these details but enjoyed the book nevertheless, so I guess it goes both ways.

There are beautiful themes in this book too: the tragedies of war, the strength of a friendship, the brutal truths of life, survival, hope, love. Give this book a shot, it may just leave your mind reeling.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding!!
Recommended for: all historical fiction fans (like seriously) and everyone else too, because I think everyone should read good books
Acknowledgements: actually a debriefing! 4.5/5

9.2/10 – because well, I did give this 5 stars on goodreads. I loved it. It caught me by surprise and it was the very best type of surprise, I actually feel it deserves a second, closer reading, or maybe just to savour the story another time. The characters are remarkable, the setting is superb, the whole tone of the novel gets under your skin. It’ll shock you, it’ll play with your heart, and it’ll be a helluva ride. They really are a sensational team.

source: netgalley
author website


  1. I have heard NOTHING but good things about this book! God. This really does sound amazing and I'm glad that this book surprised you and delivered on all fronts. Hehe. Your squee-ish reviews are the best kind.

  2. Yayyyyy! I actually hadn't heard anything about this one summary-wise yet, but reading your summary here it totally sounds like something I would enjoy, so am super-happy to hear you liked it. Hearing that it's focusing on friendship is even more awesome. Also, who is Hardy??

  3. "Kiss Me Hardy" was totally a knife in the stomach moment. Holy moly. This book did make me cry a little, which is rare for me. I felt like it was a bit bogged down in details, but the emotions of the story were tremendously well done.

  4. I've seen this around the blogosphere before! :) Oh I must must must read this now. Glad you really liked it. From the first glance, I really did not know it was historical fiction either!

  5. This book is getting lots of buzz! I think I'm the only person who doesn't own it. I found your blog via A Novel Source.

  6. I love the cover and I really want to read this. After reading your review the feeling only got to be stronger. I am so glad that you liked it and I can't wait to literary get my hands on it ;))
    Happy midnight reading!

  7. this book is really going around. i have heard such great things on it but i keep passing it up every time i see it at my bookstore. maybe it's the war/ pilot thing that i know it really goes into detail that's putting me off since it doesn't interest me.

    but i know i'll give in eventually due to reviews like yours. :)

    and yay for more posts <3


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