Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Code Name Verity

Premise: A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a shot 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. (from Goodreads)

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Length: 447 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Book 1 with a companion
Content appropriate for: Grades 7-12
Format: Audiobook (free download via Bolinda Publishing and the summer YA program from SYNC)

Three adjectives that describe this book: gripping, memorable, complex

This is the story of two British women during World War 2, one a spy and the other a pilot. I read this as an auidiobook and MAN that is the best format for this one. The publishers chose to use two readers since Part One is narrated by one character who is Scottish, and Part Two by another who is English. The women (Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell) who read this book were simply incredible. The emotion in their voices added so much color to the story, especially since it's not very action-packed. They also used an array of authentic accents and even sang some sections.

Code Name Verity is a powerful story. It starts with the premise that one character has been captured by the Gestapo, and then tells her story up to that point. How did she get captured? How did she end up in the war at all? Interspersed with this narrative we hear about the treatment of the prisoners, how she and others are being tortured. But the author also humanizes the Nazi agents, as we get a glimpse into their inner struggles with their jobs and who they were before being drafted.

My favorite thing is that the second part of the book sheds completely new light on the first half. I'm planning to listen to it again with all this new information/perspective in mind. Sweet!

I enjoyed Code Name Verity. If you can get the audiobook, that's the way to go!

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