Audiobooks Book Reviews Young Adult Books

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I spent much of the fall in a complete reading slump. I started and gave up on more books than I care to make mention of.

Code Name Verity was the first book in ages that actually compelled me to keep reading (or listening, in this case).

And then I’ve put off writing about it for months and months because there is just so much to say about it and I feel overwhelmed by my inability to communicate just HOW good this book is. But it’s just unfair to keep a book this good to myself (it just got a Printz Honor on Monday, so it’s not like I’m the only person alive who knows about this book, and it’s been getting mega mega buzz for months, but humor me).

The short version is: Read this book.

The longer version is that this is the best kind of historical fiction, really the best kind of book. It’s set during World War II, but it’s so different from any kind of WWII book I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a few).

Also, this is a book with a lot of twists, so it’s hard to write much about this without giving too much away, and you really want to read this book without knowing how things play out.

So. . . you know, very tricky to review.

The basic gist is this, though. It’s about two girls, both working for the British Airforce during the war. Maddie is a pilot, Julie is a spy. And when the book opens, Julie has just been captured by the Nazis, after the crash of the plane that Maddie flying, mourning over Maddie’s death and giving in under the torture to reveal the secrets about her mission.

Which, of course, is making her pretty much hate herself (and the other prisoners certainly don’t think much of her for caving so quickly either).

I love this new angle for a WWII book, and I love the characters – so fiery and full of life. And I usually don’t like the journal/letter format, but Julie’s recounting of her friendship with Maddie, her life before the war, and the events before and after her capture are gripping. It’s impossible for me to imagine this book having been written in any other format.

I wish I could tell you everything about this book. I read this very excellent review of it on the mock Printz blog and it made me desperate to go read it again – there is so much depth and richness to this book, none of which detracts from the phenomenal story, but that you might not notice with a casual reading (I just went and reread that review again while I was writing this and. .  .whew, I MUST read this book again. But don’t read that review until you’ve read the book because it’s extremely spoiler-ific).

And the audio version? Stellar. The two narrators have phenomenal accents (how can you not love those?) and they make you feel like you are right in the story.

Even if you’re not in the throes of a reading slump, you’ll probably love this book.

Audiobook checked out from my local library

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  • Reply Lisa January 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I have this from ILL, due back on the 7th! I ALSO have Days of Blood and Sunlight, due back on the 3rd. The 7th and the 3rd are very close!

  • Reply Amy January 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I always look forward to your book reviews! I have enjoyed so many books you have recommended and I think this book will be right up my alley. Now to just wait for the copies my library has ordered to arrive!

  • Reply Kimberly F. January 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I am SO glad you loved it!

  • Reply Erica January 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Argh! I started reading this book, but couldn't finish it before it was due back at the library. I put it immediately back on my hold list and I'll add the audio book to that list as well.

  • Reply Melanie January 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    If I hadn't just had six library holds come in at the same time, I'd go out and get this one right now. I can't wait to read it!

  • Reply Audrey January 31, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Just looked into this and I'm #36 on the Hold List. Can't wait to read it!

  • Reply Mama Bub January 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I just requested this from the library, and I'm NEXT on the hold list. It's like Christmas!

    • Reply Janssen February 1, 2013 at 2:06 am

      You are my kind of person! It feels like Christmas to me too 🙂

  • Reply Holly Hoffman Spears January 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    i just read this! great writing. and sometimes i like books that don't end all happily every after. 🙂

  • Reply Amanda Cobb January 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I really enjoyed this, too, and also found it hard to review because I didn't want to include spoilers. Definitely different from the usual WWII books, in a good way.

  • Reply Jessie January 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I think I would love this! Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  • Reply AEK January 31, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I was surprised that it took me a bit to really get into the book. Didn't hold my interest about the flying particulars. BUT once I got into it then I couldn't put it down. I will definitely read this one again. I think it would make a great book club read too.

  • Reply Abby January 31, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I LOVED this book. I agree with your short review: Just read this book.

  • Reply Cassandra February 1, 2013 at 12:39 am

    This is definitely on my list! Thanks for the review!

  • Reply Amanda February 1, 2013 at 1:54 am

    I know exactly how you feel! I just wrote in a post this morning that I contemplated reviewing it, but I didn't want to write a subpar review for a book I loved! So I took the cheater route and linked to other reviews! I'll add yours 🙂

  • Reply Lindsay February 1, 2013 at 6:50 am

    I just added this to my Goodreads list! It sounds amazing. By the way, I checked out "The Happiness Project" based on your review, and it has been wonderful so far! I'm already making changes in my life and determining the pain points I need to cut out. So thank you for the recommendation.

  • Reply JoLee February 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    It is crazy fabulous, isn't it? I love how the reader doesn't have a clue how good the book really is until she's a good deal into it. I didn't read many new books this year, but I am so glad this was one of the few I did read.

  • Reply Terri B. February 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Just finished reading CNV the other day and I am … speechless. So good. Stayed up WAY too late reading (and I never do that anymore). What I really wanted to say though is THANK YOU for linking to that awesome spoiler-y review! I didn't read it until after I finished the book and it was so good to actually read someone's thoughts on it. Everyone has been pretty good at keeping mum about particulars.

  • Reply Meghan February 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I'm glad I checked your blog for motivation. This is on our book club list for April….. I tried reading last fall and failed. For some reason I just couldn't get into the book (I'll blame it on pregnancy–no idea why but seems like a good excuse). Thanks the book seems more interesting now! 🙂

  • Reply Laura H February 25, 2013 at 6:27 am

    A friend and I started this book at the same time. She read it and I listened to the audio version. She ended not liking it at all. I thought the readers were fantastic. The story was a little slow at first but then it had me hooked.

  • Reply Orphan Monster Spy - One of the Best World War 2 Books April 5, 2018 at 1:16 am

    […] World War 2 books, and as soon as I saw a blurb from Elizabeth Wein (who wrote the super amazing Code Name Verity) on the front, I was sold on Orphan Monster […]

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