A Code Name Verity

By: Elizabeth Wein

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Elizabeth Wein

Born in N.Y.C. in 1964, Elizabeth Wein had a strong education experience, going to Yale University and getting a PHD in Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania. She then pursued writing and has since written a total of 7 young adult novels and she also writes short stories. She has lived in Scotland for over ten years with her husband Tim and their two children. She writes almost all of her novels at her home. Elizabeth's latest novel is also for teens and she took a unique direction with it's theme. It's called Code Name Verity, and was published in 2012. The response to this novel has been great, it earned more than 3 awards already (Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book). On top of that it is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction. One of the major ideas in this novel is centered around flying, which is a special interest of Elizabeth's and Tim's.

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Main Characters

Maddie - Verity's friend and the pilot of the plane that crashes. She's a dreamer and is very unique to other women and girls at the time because she was taking on a job that only men did...flying. She is full of hope and laughter through the good and the bad.

Verity - An officer in the military when she meets Maddie at the airfield. Writer of the letters to Von Linden and prior to her capture she was always well put together and well groomed, without a hair out of place.

Captain Von Linden - Nazi who Verity is writing the book of confessions to. Very strict, harsh and un-loving...He has a very cold personality.

Conflict

You could say that there are multiple conflicts in this book, but I would say there is definitely an obvious one. When Verity is captured by Nazi interrogators she has a "simple" choice. She could either methodically reveal her mission and why she was found in Germany, by writing her story on notebook paper or die through execution. Verity has to choose giving up her pride and feeling like she let her country down, or giving up her life. As you read on you start to realize that this is clearly the main conflict...will she uncover the truth to the enemy and save herself, or save the truth from the enemy but lose her life?

My Opinion

I really enjoyed this book, although I found it hard to follow at times. It is a complicated story that keeps you interested and leaves you wanting to know more. I think Elizabeth Wein does an excellent job bringing the characters Verity and Maddie to life. I started to develop an emotional connection to them where I cared about what happened to the two girls. I think it is a unique novel and I haven't read anything like it before. It is able to make history interesting and weave in interesting facts that I would normally find boring. I would definitely recommend A Code Name Verity.

Type of reader who would enjoy this book

I think the type of audience that would enjoy A Code Named Verity is limited. It is a really great book, that obviously has been recognized as just that because of the awards it has received, but I believe not everyone would enjoy it. It has a lot of historical context woven into it, which I know some people would not be able to find interesting and it can also be complicated and confusing. Some readers don't want to have to pay close attention to what they are reading and would rather read something that is fun and light-hearted. This book is not for them, but for readers that want a unique story with interesting plot twists.

Passage

"'I'm looking for verity.'...

'Truth,' I said at last, in English.
'Truth,' she agreed...
'Verity,' I said in English...Then gasped: "'Truth is the daughter of time, not authority.'" And: "'This above all, to thine own self be true.'" I gibbered a bit, I confess. 'Verity! I am the soul of verity.' I laughed so wildly then, that the Hauptsturmfuhrer had to clear his throat to remind me to control myself. 'I am the soul of verity,' I repeated. 'Je suis l'esprit de verite.'" (131) This passage represents the theme because they are talking about the truth and I would say the theme of this novel is honesty. Throughout the entire book, Verity is slowly revealing the truth about herself and her life.


Compelling plot teaser

This books plot keeps you interested and engaged until the last page, with twists and turns keeping you on your toes and wondering what will happen next. The majority of the plot during the first half of the book, is about how Verity was captured in enemy territory as a secret agent and was arrested by the Gestapo. The book takes us along with Verity as she decides whether to revel her mission through confessions to save her life and uncover her past. All the while she is battling to survive, but who knows if trading her secrets will be enough to save her from the enemy?
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