Code Name Verity is storytelling at its best. This 2013 Michael L. Printz Honor book is so gripping you’ll find yourself reading late into the night, searching for clues, pleading for answers, and hoping — no, praying — for sweet confirmation that these characters make it out alive.
Author Elizabeth Wein has concocted a masterful story about two female officers in British military service during World War II. Though their mission and true identities are top secret (no spoilers here!), two narrators tell their harrowing tale. Both narrator’s voices are strong and clear, and the story plays out with plenty of suspense, foreshadowing and twists of every nature. In addition to an intriguing plot, Wein manages to include classic literary references, plane mechanics, heartbreak, history and humor. By the end of Code Name Verity, readers will be both touched and haunted by the book’s excellent message of friendship and truth.
Profanity/Language: 29 religious exclamations; 43 mild obscenities; 13 derogatory names; 7 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms; 2 f-word derivatives
Violence/Gore: Implied occurrence of torture and violence from prisoners’ bruises; reports of violence regarding plane crashes, torture at the Gestapo prison and concentration camps. Violence occurs in the form of torture, shooting and physical assaults (biting, kicking, hitting). Property is damaged in airplane crashes and bombings. In non-detailed scenes of violent death, multiple people are shot and killed. A girl is beheaded by a guillotine and blood splatters. In an extended scene of intense violence, French resistance tries to rescue German prisoners of war and a violent gun battle occurs with casualties.
Sex/Nudity: A few incidents of kissing; several sexual references regarding menstrual cycles, rape, and “shagging”. A character worries of sexual assault and an incident of groping occurs.
Mature Subject Matter:
War; murder; suicide; Holocaust; torture; death of a friend; underground resistance
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Frequent smoking and drinking occur.