Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity


GoodreadsCode Name Verity
Series: Code Name Verity #3
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Library
Published: 2012

Official Summary

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?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

Star Divider


Code Name Verity is one of those rare, sparkling books that seems to come only a few times in a lifetime. It is the type of story that feels so real, so intimate, that it hardly seems it could be fiction. The type of story that is so original, it takes the breath away. The type of story that possibly an author gets only once. Long after I’ve finished the book, Code Name Verity continues to haunt me.

Code Name Verity is so special, that I fear to say much about it, lest I give too much away. Much of the story’s beauty comes from its unfolding. Readers do not know how much is truth and how much fiction. They do not know how this story will end. Hope and fear mix together, for it seems impossible that the story could possibly end well–and yet, it must! It must because Verity and Maddie are the types of characters one cannot help but fall in love with. Their courage, their commitment, and their suffering make them live and breathe on the page. That that breath would stop is unthinkable.

What this story achieves is remarkable, on so many levels. It provides an intimate look at the people who experienced WWII, zooming in from the battles and the political maneuverings to focus on two girls’ lives. The war changed things drastically for them, upending their school dreams, separating their families, but also providing hitherto unthinkable possibilities. Verity is a spy. Maddie is a pilot. They both rise to the challenge–but only a global war forced society to let them prove themselves. Watching the two transform is an incredibly moving experience. It reminds readers that, at the center of history, there are always people. Just people. Ones who have hopes and dreams, romances and friendships, homes and families. Some of them will never get those things back.

And what a wonderful story to reclaim the history of the women of WWII! Code Name Verity, of course, is not a story that encompasses the multitude of experiences and stories (How could it?). But it is a triumph in that it celebrates just a few of the stories that still need to be told. Female pilots? Female spies? These are not the typical stories that are shared in school or in documentaries. Elizabeth Wein draws back the curtain, just a little, to show that work remains to be done. And she does it with such skill, such talent!

Wein’s story works in part because she mixes the beautiful, the hopeful, and the humorous along in with the darkness. The girls’ fates seem sealed, and yet, because they are human, they cannot always wallow in misery. Verity still manages to fight back–physically, sometimes, but also sometimes by telling jokes, or by sharing memories. This contradiction is just so utterly, completely human that it hurts.

Code Name Verity is one of the best books I have ever read. It moved me to tears at times, but it also inspired me. Not often do such books come along. It is important to treasure them when they do.

5 stars

6 thoughts on “Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I know that a lot of people have said they love it. But I think it helped that I really had no idea what the book is even about, so my expectations had nothing concrete to fasten on to. And I listened to the audiobook, which I thought was really wonderfully done. I wasn’t a big fan of the prequel, The Pearl Thief, but I did love this one!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I can’t remember reading a full review from a blogger, either. It seems to be one of those books that’s name dropped all the time, though. Or makes it onto lists.


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