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Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein Originally posted on BOOK BRATS.I picked up CODE NAME VERITY on a whim, which is surprising considering that I had actually recommended it to a friend first. She loved it, told me I had to read it, so after some debate and boredom with another book, I turned to this. I normally do not read much historical fiction, even though I watch basically every World War II movie there is ever since my parents took me to see Schindler’s List when I was a kid (by the way, Schindler’s List is not a movie for 6 year olds). I am not a fan of long winded stories about tanks and knockoffs of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (which I am frankly not a fan of).This book blew my expectations of dull and boring out of the water.CODE NAME VERITY is about two girls – an undercover operative and a pilot – during World War II. That is all you need to know about this book.In one word, you could describe CODE NAME VERITY as emotional. If you added a few more words, you could describe it as a rollercoaster of feelings, filled with thrills, nail-biting moments, and heartbreak. This story is sad and uplifting at the same time. It’s a story about the will to live and the things people do under duress. It’s about confronting fears and the cracks that form when people are broken down.Verity and Maddie are both complex characters with issues, flaws, and passions. I felt like I got to know them over the course of the book. While this story is told mostly from Verity’s POV, it’s about Maddie’s trials and tribulations. It’s only slowly that we begin to learn more about Verity herself. This was a first for me, this plot device, but I was blown away by it.If I have to take away one thing from CODE NAME VERITY, it would be one of the things that I dislike about a lot of WWII fiction – long windedness. Didn’t I mention that before? Well, this story has a tendency to meander at times. For the first 40%, I can imagine some readers will be turned off by an extreme attention to detail. We learn the names of planes, airbases, technical things about wireless sets and encryption codes and the like. It takes a patient person to wade through a lot of the heavy background details. But what this does do well is set up the story. Fifty percent in and suddenly the story turns from slogging into breakneck action, thrills, and crying spells.Oh, yes. You will cry.Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, but I have to mention the parts that slog along. Be patient with CODE NAME VERITY, because after all the twists and turns and reveals, you will want to hug this book tightly and cry yourself to sleep.VERDICT: An unbelievably emotional story with a slightly plodding beginning, CODE NAME VERITY does not stray from the hard-hitting aspects of YA, which makes it a must read.