25 April 2013

Teen Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Thank you so much to Erin, who is in Year 9, who wrote this wonderful review of Carnegie shortlisted Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I think you'll be able to tell by Erin's review, that she's pretty awesome: 

There are countless reasons why I loved Code Name Verity and the first was that it was based on the friendship between two girls in World War 2. I loved that the book was about their unlikely friendship because to quote from the book, “It's like falling in love, finding your best friend”.  The first part of the narrative is told by ‘Verity’ in the confession that she writes for the Gestapo in order to avoid another interrogation after being caught as a spy in France. Although in the confession she is meant to be telling the Gestapo everything she knows about British Intelligence operations, she ends up telling the story of how she met her best friend Maddie, who is a pilot, and their lives throughout the war.

Throughout the first part of the novel, ‘Verity’ tells us that she is a coward and that she wishes she could have been brave like the other prisoners who refuse to tell the Gestapo anything. However, the mere thought of another brutal interrogation by Captain makes her carry on writing with renewed energy.  As the protagonist I was expecting her to be strong and to withstand anything that happened to her and yet despite the fact that the she agrees to betray her country, I still found her brave and I was afraid for her.  What I loved about her report was that although she was writing in the first person, she writes about her best friend Maddie, and only refers to herself from Maddie’s point of view, which makes us closer to Maddie as well.

I grew attached to the characters and there were so many characters that at a first glance appeared to be evil but over the course of the book I was reminded that not everyone is who they appear to be. I loved how Code Name Verity was written because it showed you how people can have so many good qualities but can have flaws as well. I loved that the two heroines, ‘Verity’ and Maddie, were people you could root for whilst reading the story because it made the book seem more real and also it made me want to know what happened to these characters. As with any book we search for characters that are somehow similar to ourselves, and I felt like I found that I could relate to these characters despite never having been in any situation that they went through.

Code Name Verity is one of those rare and magical books that will stay with you even after you finish it and for days after reading it I would remember parts of it and want to cry. And that is how I know that this book is truly incredible. Code Name Verity is a book that I want everyone to read because if they read it I’m sure they would love reading as much as I do.

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