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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true…

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

Overall Book Review:

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. 

Content Analysis:

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.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.