Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Code Name Verity!

I’ve heard it said that the most effective promotion for a novel is through word of mouth, one friend with similar literary tastes telling another: “You absolutely have to read this book.”

Well, recently I finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and must say that most people closest to me already know what I’m about to report here at YA Fresh. I cannot stop talking about this book, cannot stop recommending it. While Code Name Verity is not for the faint of heart, it was one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Ever.

I read it slowly over several days, absorbing every scene, sometimes re-reading passages for their full effect. It was the first thing I thought of in the morning, and my last thought at night. I know this will be that rare book whose details will stay vibrant enough in my mind that I’ll be able to recall them at a moment’s notice for spontaneous discussion.

It’s hard to summarize this book without giving too much away, so here is the publisher’s blurb:

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

I was fascinated to learn the author herself is an avid flyer of small planes, and lives in Scotland.  This added depth to what had already seemed like meticulous attention to historical detail.  But the true crowning achievement of Code Name Verity for me is the bold, courageous characters of Maddie and Verity, as they deal with danger and deception, somehow managing to keep their best friendship burning brightly in their hearts. 

As Laurie Halse Anderson (NYT author of Speak) said of this book, “This astonishing tale of friendship and truth will take wing and soar into your heart.”

I encourage all our readers to check out this book, and then share it with your best friend!  And please come back and tell us here what you thought of it.

2 fresh comments:

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Wow, definitely adding it to my TBR list! Great review!

Janie Emaus said...

I can't wait to read this book. Great review!