Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (& Giveaway!)

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Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Release Date: May 15, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 352
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 5 Stars

Summary:
Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery.

Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors.  

My Thoughts: 
Arrested by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France, "Verity" has made a deal with her Nazi interrogators. In exchange for information on everything she knows about the British War Effort, she will be given pen and paper to write down her confession and more time to live. And so begins Code Name Verity, taking place in both the present and past as "Verity" chooses to write from the perspective of her best friend Maddie, how they first met and eventually became ever the loyal to each other... and how their secret mission went so horribly wrong.

Within a few chapters, I was completely in awe of Elizabeth Wein's writing style and all the little details that completely bring the book to life. I've read several novels taking place during WWII... but I've never read anything like Code Name Verity. Most of the time, we're used to seeing the terrible battles fought on the front lines, so I was enthralled learning more about the important roles Maddie and "Verity" played in the war as they first served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force together before breaking away to become a pilot and a secret agent, respectively.

As "Verity" recounts more of her past on every scrap of paper she can get her hands onto and struggles against her captors, an ache starts in your chest which never fades away. Because while you're still not sure if her words are wholly true, you just know that as soon as "Verity" stops writing, there will be only the desperate hope that it will be enough to save her. She may have questioned her own strength, but we truly see how both she and Maddie were as courageous and talented as they come.

Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity is an extraordinary tale of friendship and bravery which moved me to tears. My heart still hurts just thinking about all the events which led to the conclusion... and I'm still not quite sure I've recovered. Code Name Verity is an absolute must-read not just for historical fiction fans, but also for readers who can't tear their eyes from emotionally compelling novels which take your breath away.    

Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy! You can also check out the UK book trailer for Code Name Verity below!

   

*****

Giveaway! I have an extra ARC of Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, so I'm giving it away to a lucky follower!
  • please fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter
  • giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
  • giveaway will end at 12:00 a.m. on June 7, 2012
  • winner will be contacted by email afterwards
  • do not leave your email address in the comments
Giveaway is closed.
Congratulations to Alicia A.! 
 

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29 comments

  1. the book does sound very good, and I got the galley of it but I don't know if my heart will be able to handle it - I get very emotional over these type of books, when I can bring myself to read them at all.

    :(

    thanks for the review, though, it's inching me closer toward taking the plunge with this book.

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    1. I hope you get the chance to read Code Name Verity, Alex! I took my time with the book, sort of afraid to get too attached to the characters because I had a feeling I would cry.. but then I ended up failing. It may start off a bit slow, but it just gets better and better as the story picks up more.

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  2. My favourite historical fiction is definitely The Book Thief!

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    1. Oh! I read The Book Thief once a long time ago... I still remember bawling my eyes out when I finished. But yes, it certainly was a powerful story.

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  3. fave historical fiction is The Book Thief (same as Nicola :) ) Thanks for the giveaway!

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  4. My favorite historical is Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran.

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    1. I hadn't heard of this book before so I just looked it up on Goodreads and it sounds really interesting! I think the only book that comes to mind that I've read which takes places around the time of the French Revolution is Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution...

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    2. Yes! It's very similar. Also a really good read :)

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  5. Great review! I don't usually read a lot of historical fiction but lately I've been researching the roles women played in both World Wars, so I'm excited about this one.

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    1. Thank you! Learning more about the roles women had during WWII was another aspect about Code Name Verity which I really enjoyed. :)

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  6. My favorite historical is Memoirs of a Geisha.
    Thanks a lot for the chance to win this book. Love that cover!

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    1. I have Memoirs of a Geisha and while I haven't re-read it in awhile, I remember enjoying learning more about Japanese culture during that time period.

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  7. I have been hearing great things about this book. Your review captures all the reasons I want to read it: the great historical setting and characters, engaging writing style, and a wonderful story. I just hope it lives up to my expectations!

    Thanks for the giveaway - I hope I win :)

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    1. Thank you, Rachelia! I hope the book lives up to your expectations too. And good luck in the contest! :)

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  8. Code Name Verity sounds amazing..I hesitate to read books with themes like this one but I've been wanting to read this one since some time now.I hope I win :)

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  9. My favorite historical fictions is.....Ten Cents a Dance. I don't really know why 'Code Name Verity' catches my interest. ^.^

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  10. It's actually kind of hard to say what my favourite historical fiction novel is... I think it might just be The Other Boleyn Girl or Cleopatra's Daughter or Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow or GAH I DON'T KNOW...
    I'm reading Code Name Verity right now (yay NetGalley), about halfway through, and I just know I need to own this as a hard copy! thanks for the giveaway! :)

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  11. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran for sure. I adored that novel. I even went to the wax museum in Las Vegas after reading it.

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  12. Favorite historical fiction so far: By The Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer..Review on it coming up..:D

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  13. Actually, I've read Code Name Verity before. That "kiss me hardy, kiss me quick" just killed me. :'( And yeah, I liked The Book Thief as well. :) Thanks for the giveaway! :D

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  14. I'm hoping to finish this tonight! Verity and Maddie are spectacular and I'm terrified of how it's going to end :( I don't think I've read any WWII novels with maybe the exception of Anna Frank but I'm really enjoying this one. It's detailed but not to the point where I'm bored. Awesome review Liz!

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  15. I am looking so forward to reading this. Amazing review Liz. My favourite historical fiction would be Revolution, and The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Fingers crossed that I win...

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  16. I'm not always drawn to historical fictions, but this sounds good.

    Safari Poet

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  17. I don't know that I can pick a favourite historical novel! There are several I've enjoyed and re-read multiple times: The Nine Days Queen by Karleen Bradford (this was probably my introduction to the story of Lady Jane Grey), When the War is Over by Martha Attema, Search of the Moon King's Daughter by Linda Holeman. (If we're allowed to pick a historical novel with fantasy elements, though, then I think I'd choose Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer! :D)

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  18. Why does CODE NAME VERITY catch your interest?
    To be honest I have never read any historical fiction, but I was enticed by the description of the book in addition, your great review I enjoy utilizing emotions when I write, therefore reading novels with plenty of emotion especially the themes in this novel sounds like it would be a great new read for me.

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  19. "Why does CODE NAME VERITY catch your interest?"

    Honestly, I've been reading AMAZING stuff on Twitter about this book! I can't wait to read CODE NAME VERITY!

    Thanks for the contest!

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  20. Really want to read this one! It mainly catches my interest because of all the great buzz, but also because it is not often that you see a book whose main relationship is actually a friendship between two girls instead of a girl and a guy.

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  21. I really enjoyed the second half of the story more than the first half. It didn't have the amount of humor as the first half but somehow, it was more addicting. Maybe because there was more action? I'm not really sure but I had a lot more trouble putting this book down for this half than I did for the first. I can't really say much about it without spoiling, and you don't want to be spoiled so I know it's a big vague (sorry!).

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