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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
I enjoyed this book so much that, having just finished it, I have gone right back to the beginning and started reading it again! The book is based on the exploits of the SOE (Special Operations Executive) and the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) during WWII and it focuses on two very different young ladies who come together through their work quite early in the war. As the...
Published on 31 July 2012 by Jan

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I'd heard good things about this book, but found it hard to read. Kittyhawks section was the fastest moving part. Didn't quite believe any of it!
Published 15 months ago by sarahmobile


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 31 July 2012
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book so much that, having just finished it, I have gone right back to the beginning and started reading it again! The book is based on the exploits of the SOE (Special Operations Executive) and the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) during WWII and it focuses on two very different young ladies who come together through their work quite early in the war. As the war progresses, their friendship develops and they find themselves heading to France - and into danger. Within days one of the friends has been arrested by the Gestapo and the other is in hiding in the roof space of a French farm house, unable to return to England as her plane has been destroyed.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot as this really is a very exciting book. I like the way the narrative is split between the two main characters. The SOE agent (let's call her "Queenie") starts the story and when she is unable to continue, Maddie, the ATA pilot takes over. Their voices are very different, reflecting their different upbringing and educational background, but their dedication to their country and to each other comes through loud and clear. This is a great adventure story, but it is also a story about the effects of the war on the lives of everyday people and how sometimes doing the right thing can take great courage and can also break your heart.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buckets of blood, what a brilliant book, 14 Mar 2012
By 
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
I love stories told in two parts, from different narrative viewpoints, and that is just one of many many things to love about this book. The first half is told by 'Verity', a captured female spy being interrogated by the Gestapo in a former hotel in France. She begin her story with the words, 'I am a coward,' but you don't have to read much further before you realise this simply isn't true.

Tortured, threatened and terrified, Verity proves her courage again and again. Under the cover of writing a confession for her captors, she tells the story of how she came to be a spy, how she met her best friend, Maddie ('It's like falling in love, finding your best friend') and how the pair of them came to be in France.

'We're a sensational team', Verity tells us. It's this friendship that drives the story, as we try to piece together the clues in Verity's confession - being made in extremis - to get at the exact truth of what happened to the sensational team.

Elizabeth Wein lays many excellent traps for the reader along the way; expect to have your heart in your mouth a lot of the time. Is Verity really betraying her country (Scotland, not England)? Is she going to die? Is her best friend already dead, or in terrible danger? Will the two young women ever see one another again?

Midway through, the story switches to Maddie's voice. This is the tricky point at which an author can lose a reader, especially one who's fallen in love, the way she helps us fall in love with Verity. But it only takes a couple of pages for us to love Maddie, too, and to marvel at how distinctly different her voice is to Verity's.

These women are *alive*. They leap off the page and grip you by the hand, and then the heart. You desperately want them to have a happy ending, but at the same time you sense it would be cheating, or lying, to arrive at this after the harrowing and entirely believable scenes which have unfolded.

To move the reader without resorting to sentiment. To arrive at an ending that is both honest and uplifting. To make you think afresh about a part of history you thought you knew. To transport you, for the time it takes to read the book, to a different time and another world, while showing you so clearly *why* these stories matter and how they can resonate. These are proofs positive of a gifted, compassionate and generous author.

I doubt I'll read a better book this year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Beautiful For Words., 27 April 2012
By 
Miss Victoria Ramage (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Code Name Verity (Kindle Edition)
Shocking. Beautiful. Hilarious. There aren't really strong enough words to describe just how amazing Code Name Verity is and I know before I write my review that it will not be good enough to express my feelings towards this truly unique novel. Julie's pained, sarcastic voice is unforgettable and Maddie's shyer, yet strong willed one is a perfect match.

The twists and turns in this book had me wanting to flip back through the pages and re-read bits but alas, I was reading a kindle edition and wasn't able to do that. The first voice has many names and to avoid her name I'll call her The Scottish One! The Scottish One was the most memorable character for me and I could picture everything she wrote - and didn't write - even though there's a good chance she could have been telling us all a complete load of bull. She was certainly smart enough to. The Scottish One is being tortured, brutally, yet it's written in such a way where it's all cerebral - not much torture is mentioned but you can definitely see it in your head.

In the middle of the story, the narrative switches to Maddie, who is shyer than The Scottish One but in no way weaker. After hearing about her from The Scottish One, finally meeting her and hearing what she had to say was like meeting an old friend and I happily went with her to continue the journey. Maddie is easily the other half of The Scottish One and in one scene she even thinks the same thoughts!

One particular scene in this was brutal and so quick, I didn't even cry, I was in so much shock. I was grateful though, as it felt like something that had to happen and not something that the author had just thrown in there for entertainment value. The story as whole is a stunning portrayal of two strong-willed girls friendship during the Second World War and one that I'll never forget.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Code Name Verity, 4 Feb 2012
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
3.5 stars

Verity was sent to France as a spy but ended up captured by the Gestapo, after weeks of torture she finally broke and agreed to tell them what she knew of the British War Effort. Her story starts with the pilot who flew her to France - her close friend Maddie. Verity tells the tale of how she and Maddie became unlikely friends and the events that led to her own capture.

Code Name Verity is a heart-breaking tale of two incredibly strong women and the part they both played in the war effort. I have to admit that it took me a while to warm to Verity, it takes a long time before we even learn her name and I found the way the writing style kept switching from first to third person was confusing. The fact that Verity focuses on telling Maddie's story meant that I felt much more connected to the character that we'd never met than I did to the one who was telling the story. Having said that once I got used to the writing style I found that I had to keep reading because I needed to know how things would turn out. I grew to really feel for Verity, she suffers from horrific torture but remained strong, loyal and despite the fact she was terrified she still found small ways to be defiant.

The friendship between Verity and Maddie is a beautiful thing to watch and I really enjoyed reading a story with such strong female characters. Although they both have very different jobs they are both in occupations that were dominated by men, they had to work twice as hard to be considered equals and often found they were passed over for jobs that were given to less qualified male colleagues. The chances are that they would never have met if it hadn't been for the war, Verity is an upper class girl who was brought up in a Scottish castle while Maddie is from a working class family in Stockport so it would have been unlikely their paths would have crossed. In a lot of ways they are complete opposites but they have a strong bond that nothing will break.

While fictional the story has an authentic feel to it that just makes it even more heart wrenching to read. It gives a real insight into some of the roles women had during WW2 and makes for fascinating reading. I'd definitely recommend the story to anyone with an interest in history but also if you want to read a story with strong female role models. One thing I would suggest is keeping a box of tissues to hand thought because you'll definitely need them by the end of the book. This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Wein but it definitely won't be the last.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book!, 16 Feb 2012
By 
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, is a terrific book. It is labelled 'young adult'. Well, I'm 53, and I was entirely absorbed from the first page. This is a *fabulous* read. I have been gripped from first to last and have enjoyed it immensely. Moving, real, this book draws you into the world it portrays, runs you through the gamut of emotions and leaves you in awe. There are scenes in here that I will never forget. If somebody wonderful doesn't pick up the movie rights, they will have missed a hell of a trick. This is the first book by this author that I have read. The first of many. Great, great book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive Young Adult War Story, 13 Feb 2012
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
Set during World War II this is a unique and imaginative Young Adult read. Verity and her friend Maddie are close friends. It's unlikely that without the War their paths would have crossed, coming from such different backgrounds, but War has brought them together.
The story opens with Verity being interrogated by the Gestapo, she's been captured and tortured, and is about to spill the secrets of the Allied Forces. Verity chooses to write her confession down, in detail, and it is in this confession that we learn about her dear friend Maddie - how they met, became friends, and how Verity finds herself just where she is now.

Despite not even knowing Verity's name for some time, and not even meeting Maddie during the story - these are two warm and realistic characters. So very different; a rich girl from Scotland and a working-class Stockport lass, but united in their strong friendship and in their battle to prove themselves in what is very much a man's world.
There are some heart-breaking scenes within this story, yet there is a sense of tremendous strength of character, and a real insight into active service for women during the War.

Elizabeth Wein has produced a inventive, fascinating and emotional story with strong female lead characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely not just for young adults!, 14 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
One of the reviews spoke of this book as a Young Adult read. I am 70 years old and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like to read "different" books and so I purchased this, and I found it easy to read, which is good for "young" adults, and enjoyed a well written story, with sufficient emphasis on the relationship between the two girls to enable me to follow what was going on between the prisoner and the interrogator. Well done Elizabeth Wein!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Code Name Verity: Review, 20 May 2012
By 
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
Code Name Verity is a story about two best friends set in the middle of World War II. Both girls are involved in the Allied war effort.

As the author acknowledges in the "author's debriefing" at the end of the novel: Code Name Verity is fiction, but hang it all - it feels real. It feels like "Verity" and Maddie are two very real girls caught up in some quite horrific events. As I read and delved deeper into the novel, I found myself rooting for both girls. The author is even kind enough to include a bibliography, so that if we choose we can find out more about the real people involved in similar situations in WWII. Fair warning, this novel made me cry. Books don't often make me cry, but this one did. Even thinking about it now, my eyes well up. This is a beautiful and extremely sad book. It is not a book for the faint-hearted and those who have triggers should be aware - there are mentions of torture within its pages.

One of the things I liked most about this novel was how it was set out. It was brilliantly done. At no point in the narrative did I have any idea how the book was going to end. There are so many twists and turns along the way. "Verity" and Maddie are compelling characters. You can see their deep friendship on the pages, and how much they mean to on another. They are brilliant protagonists. The secondary characters were also brilliant and came alive on the page, from "Verity"`s youngest elder brother who appears from time to time, to "Verity"`s Nazi interrogators and the other prisoners - who we never actually meet.

This is one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking war novels that I have read, and I have read a few (all for my English Lit A-Level). On the whole this was a pretty accurate book, although there are discrepancies (as the author acknowledges), but they didn't take anything away from the story. Code Name Verity is a book that affects you; it made me think of all the real-life people who would have been in similar positions to "Verity" and Maddie during WWII - of those who gave their lives.

Review from an ARC provided by Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley. Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 3 May 2012
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This review is from: Code Name Verity (Kindle Edition)
This book was amazing and horrowing in places. Written in two sections one by each of the main characters, nothing becomes completely clear until the end of the book. Was surprised it was aimed at young adults as some of the subject matter was disturbing and I'm in my 30s. Brought it cheaply for the Kindle, but would recommend it even at the higher price. It got into my head and I found myself thinking about it during the day, wished it was longer.

Highly recommended - read this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The ending is just brilliant, 20 Aug 2014
This review is from: Code Name Verity (Paperback)
Code Name Verity is an intricately-woven story of friendship, truth and lies. It is a deeply emotional book - it made me laugh, and it made me cry - as well as very thought-provoking, showing a glimpse of the ruthlessness of a side of war that we don't often think about - all the covert undercover work that went on behind the scenes.

Despite this, Code Name Verity managed to be a very entertaining read and I grew to really love the characters of Maddie and Queenie (not her real name, but several names are used for her in the book and I'm going to refer to her as this for the purpose of my review because it is the one that you know her by for the longest, I think.)

Queenie was just so dynamic and seemingly fearless - a real free-spirited character - and I think I viewed her with the same awe and admiration that Maddie probably did. Actually, I'm going to quote Maddie's description of her best friend because it is just perfect:

"Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous."

Queenie loves pretending and she's good at making up stories, which is why she is in the Special Operations Executive, and it's clear that she really is excellent at what she does (apart from the fact that '[she has] no sense of direction; in some of us it is a TRAGIC FLAW', which led to her being captured by the Gestapo after being in France for less than 48 hours, simply because she'd looked the wrong way before crossing the street.) Anyhow, this excellence of hers becomes even more clear at the end of the book! (I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it!)

The first part of the book is Queenie's written account for her captors and her voice is so engaging and entertaining to read. In little chunks, she tells us hers and Maddie's story - a touching tale of true friendship. However, I must admit that I sometimes found bits of the stories from the past that Queenie was telling a little bit...boring, what with all the talk of aircrafts and flying and whatnot. (It's okay, though! It was only the odd occasion! And anyway, looking back, having finished the whole book, I can guarantee that it's worth sticking it out to get to the end!)

Anyway, Queenie's story was interjected with snippets from the present and what was currently happening to her. I, personally, found these bits more amusing in general. Despite the torture she has endured or, as she euphemistically puts it, 'the, ah, stressful circumstances' she's been put through, her fire and fighting spirit remain and she stays, for the most part, chatty and upbeat. She has a tendency to forget she is not writing this for herself and the results of this are rather funny. For example, one time, after viciously insulting von Linden, the man for whom this report is being written, she suddenly realises and writes -

"Oh my God, why do I do it - again and again? I HAVE THE BRAIN OF A PTARMIGAN HEN. HE WILL SEE ANYTHING I WRITE."

Overall, Code Name Verity was a very enjoyable and moving read. Queenie and Maddie were such likable, real characters and they truly were a sensational team. Reading their story, I almost felt like I was there, a part of that sensational team with them.
And the ending was...perfect. Bittersweet, but I wouldn't have wanted it to end any other way. After reading this, I had that satisfied feeling of having just digested a really great book. Seriously, it's well worth the time.
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Code Name Verity
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Paperback - 6 Feb 2012)
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