Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity, Hyperion, 2012

I’ve been dying to recommend this book to you. It is one of those books that I want to push into the hands of every reader I know. I’ve told quite a few people at the library about it and now I want to tell you all about it too.

Code Name Verity is the story of two courageous young women who risk their lives to further the cause of the Allies during World War II. Verity is a well-bred Scot with an Oxford education who is recruited by the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Her friend Maddie is a mechanically minded tomboy from the Manchester area who becomes a pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary. Despite their differences,  their friendship and admiration for each other carry them through many trials and struggles during the early part of the war. In 1943 they journey to France on assignment and both end up behind enemy lines. Trapped and separated, they use their ingenuity and gumption to navigate the dangerous situation they’ve landed in.

I won’t say more about the plot as it is one of those stories that is best read when you know as little about the twists and turns as possible. But I will tell you that it is a magnificent wartime tale, a tale of friendship, bravery and sacrifice that had me laughing, smiling, weeping, quivering and pondering as I read about these two remarkable women. If you like reading books about World War II this is a must read. If you like stories about extraordinary friendships this is a must read. If you like tales of adventure and daring this is a must read. I have immense admiration for the historical accuracy and detail in this novel and for the way Wein completely brings the reality of the French resistance to life. And Verity and Maddie are two characters I came to love and will never forget and I hope you will come to love them too.

This book is marketed to and shelved in the young adult section of libraries and bookstores, but it is nowhere near being a typical YA novel. It can be enjoyed by readers of all ages and I suspect it may just be more appreciated by older ones.

Please give this a try if it is at all possible. I don’t think you’ll regret it.