Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein, Hyperion, 2012, 332 pp

I was not looking forward to reading this. I have read enough WWII novels to last me several lifetimes. But the reading group must go on! Inside the front cover no less than 15 awards and accolades are listed. You know what? The book is amazing and she earned everyone of those prizes and best-ofs. Not your ordinary WWII novel.

The story features a female pilot and a female spy who are the kind of best friends who should grow old together. Alas, there is a war on and one of them is doomed.

Code Name Verity is one of those books that grabs you with a voice, goes into a bit of a confusing lull that forces the reader to figure out what is going on, and then by sheer ingeniousness of plot, just blows your head off. The characters are so complex and admirable and intelligent and brave. There are men in the story but I hardly noticed them because the two young women shone so brightly.

I'm not sure why it was marketed as Young Adult. The two friends are young but not teens. Some quite grizzly torture scenes might give a sensitive reader nightmares. But the strength and determination and sheer guts of those women, in the face of hardship and the horrors of war, show a side of females not usually seen in war stories. It would make a great movie.

(Code Name Verity is available in paperback on the shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore. It is also available in hardcover and eBook by order.)


  1. I loved this book. Her new one, Rose Under Fire is every bit as good. Wein really did her homework and you can tell just how much she loves her subject. The way she focuses on the girl pilots in Verity, she introduces readers to the Polish rabbits in the German concentrations camps.

    1. OK. Rose Under Fire, on the list!