[REVIEW] Code Name Verity

Series: Code Name Verity #1
Elizabeth Wein
young adult, historical fiction, war
May 7, 2013 (first published February 6, 2012)

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
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, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
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It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

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I picked up Code Name Verity mainly because I want to read more historical fiction books. I read the synopsis, read good things about it, and thought it was worth trying.

While most people will probably rate this immediately with five stars, it wasn’t the case for me. I had mixed emotions in reading Code Name Verity. After reading it (and I literally just finished it), I told myself that this is more like a 3.5 stars for – although I’m making it 4 stars just because I’m too lazy to make half points. Now let me get through my thoughts…

I jump into Code Name Verity with high expectations – I’ve read positive reviews about it and after posting that I bought it, people rave about how good it is, how much they cried over it, and such. Realistically speaking, I am expecting myself to cry while reading it. I cried a lot in watching anime and reading manga but never did I cry so much in reading a book (but I do confess to tearing up a bit in some).

Perhaps it’s the first part of Code Name Verity that actually made me want to put it down a lot of times – there’re so much aircraft talk, and such. It honestly bore me but I kept on going. I want to see what happens to both of them at the end. Verity’s words aren’t exactly captivating but it gives a clear view of what happened to her since she was imprisoned by the Gestapo, and her relationship with Kittyhawk.

Good thing, my patience paid off when I started reading Kittyhawk’s part of the story. While I do like Kittyhawk’s voice, what I particularly like about her part of the story is how it connected nicely to Verity’s story. While reading Kittyhawk’s thoughts around (or maybe near) halfway through, I kept on looking back at Verity’s. The story did not only becoming more mesmerizing but it also became more thrilling.

What I like about Verity and Kittyhawk’s friendship is how they seem to complete each other. I honestly didn’t feel so much for them at the beginning (other than their meeting and exchange of fears talk) but reading through Kittyhawk’s thoughts really just made me admire their friendship and how much they see the beauty of the other while they look down at or criticize themselves.

You know, I envied her. I envied her the simplicity of her work, the spiritual cleanness of it – Fly the plane, Maddie. That was all she had to do. There was no guilt, no moral dilemma, no argument – danger, yes, but she always knew what she was facing. And I envied that she had chosen her work herself and was doing what she wanted to do. I don’t suppose I had any idea what I “wanted” and so I was chosen, not choosing. There’s glory and honor in being chosen. But not much room for free will. (p140)

Sometimes Julie used to make me jealous – her cleverness, her ease with men, how posh she is – the grouse-shooting and the Swiss school and speaking three language and being presented to the king in a blue silk ball gown – even her MBE after she caught those spies, like being knighted, and especially her term at Oxford – (p263)

Perhaps my greatest disappointment here is finding myself never shedding a tear. Even once. I know it’s odd. Mostly at Kittyhawk’s part, my chest tightens because I get affected by the things that happen. I wanted to shed a tear or just plain cry but nothing comes out. (and so I started mentally asking myself? Am I that indifferent? Do I really just not care about Verity? About Kittyhawk’s feelings? Ah~ screw myself!)

Kittyhawk tells the story towards the end which I do admit is very beautiful. There’s just something about that ending I can’t put to words that really just makes me smile. Perhaps it’s Kittyhawk’s bravery. I love what she did at the end. OR perhaps it was those last words she said. OR the entire chapter of her words. Her confessions. Her acceptance. Her positive tone towards the end. I don’t know but I just loved her there.

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Code Name Verity is indeed a wonderful read and I think that people who read for all the heartbreaking, and sad, and painful feelings that make you cry will find this worth their time (but give patience, my friends, because I think most of the feels are on part 2). It’s generally a good historical fiction (or maybe I’m not one to talk about that yet) and the writing is pretty engaging especially Kittyhawk’s part as I mentioned.
wonderful friendship. So much feels. good writing.

wonderful friendship. So much feels. good writing.

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