Thursday, May 31, 2012
The moment I read the description — a story of two best friends, a girl pilot and a girl spy, during WWII — I knew I had to get my hands on an ARC. Then (cue sunlight and an angelic choir) I got an email from NetGalley during our weekend writing retreat — CODE NAME VERITY was available!
As is the case with other glowing, wonderful reviews of this novel, I can only tell you so much without spoiling it. And as with all excellent books, there is much to spoil, so I'll be extra careful.
CODE NAME VERITY is a Russian nesting doll between two covers; just when you think you know what you have, you discover that it's something entirely different and amazing.
But amazing in a heartbreaking way. I did mention that it's set in WWII, after all.
Verity, a spy, has been captured in Nazi-occupied France, and she's unsure of the whereabouts of her best friend Maddie, who had piloted the plane that brought her there. The book is her confession, her stay of execution, and she reveals details of what brought her and Maddie together and to the current point in time.
Piece by piece, her confession — and the interspersed details of her imprisonment and torture — drew me into Verity's world and her and Maddie's friendship, and I knew I was done for. Because even in such an dark and desperate situation, Verity's charming, sassy voice shone through, and with her, I became best friends with loyal, dedicated Maddie.
I wanted to protect these brave girls, to give them a happy ending with rainbows and unicorns and white picket fences, and when I'm that invested in characters, when they're that real to me, I'm in trouble.
Elizabeth Wein did such a fantastic job with this novel. On a practical level, the pacing, tension, and characterization were ridiculously spot-on, and I never felt overwhelmed by historical detail.
On an emotional level... did you see what I wrote about rainbows and unicorns?
Halfway through the book, I knew I'd be recommending it liberally. Three-quarters of the way through, I was sending emails to friends with links to reviews and using all-caps for emphasis.
Early on in reading CODE NAME VERITY, I trusted Elizabeth Wein to tell Verity and Maddie's story the right way. You know when you're reading a book and you just know?
There will be no jumping-the-shark moment.
There will be no throwing the book across the room.
There will be no, "It was good, but it would've been better if..."
I savored this novel, even as it broke my heart. It's definitely a read-more-than-once kind of book, because upon finishing it, you're itching to start again to catch all the intricacies you missed the first time around, when you were too desperate to know the fates of Verity and Maddie to pay attention.
Right now, I'm debating if I should read it a second time, or if the next go-round should be the audiobook. Via Twitter, Elizabeth Wein recommended the audio version, so I think that's my answer.
Overall, CODE NAME VERITY is not only worth reading, but it's also worth purchasing. I'm excited for my copy to take it's place on my bookshelf.
Details: Available now!
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
Hyperion, May 2012
Anyone else read CODE NAME VERITY? Are you as in love as I am?