On My Bookshelf: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

October 24, 2016

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a young adult historical fiction novel, is the tale of two best friends serving in unusual roles during WWII. The two girls face danger and losing each other in this gripping narrative. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Basic plot from Amazon: 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, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Why I liked it: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, is

the tale of two best friends serving in unusual roles during WWII. Maddie, mechanically skilled, becomes a pilot and Julia, fluent in multiple languages, works in espionage.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a young adult historical fiction novel, is the tale of two best friends serving in unusual roles during WWII. The two girls face danger and losing each other in this gripping narrative. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.The first half of the book is written by Julia while held captive in Nazi-occupied France. She hopes her writing will save her or at least prolong her time alive.

"Oh, God I am so tired. They have kept me at it all night. It is the third night I have had no sleep. Too little, at any rate. I don't recognize the people guarding me; Thibaut and Engel are all tucked up in their pensions, and von Linden is busy tormenting that screaming French girl.

I like writing about Maddie. I like remembering. I like constructing it, focusing, crafting the story, pulling together the memories. But I am so tired. I can't craft anything more tonight. Whenever I seem to stop, to stretch, to reach for another sheet of paper, to rub my eyes, this utter shit of a bastard who is guarding me touches the back of my neck with his cigarette."

The second half of the book is written by Maddie, her plane downed in France, and hoping to find her captured friend. Both girls display extreme courage in perilous situations. Their stories weave a beautiful tale of friendship and devotion.

Classroom application: The plot is full of unexpected twists and as a slightly obsessive reader of WWII literature, I would highly recommend it as an independent book pick for my students. The novel could also be used in a history class to study aviation, espionage or women's roles during WWII.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Code Name Verity for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more book suggestions for teachers and students:


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