Sunday, January 18, 2015

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

"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."

Huh. So I'm a little surprised. Well, this review doesn't come with a clear-cut opinion. The first thing I'll say is that it goes slow. It's only about 300 pages, but I ended up taking quite a while to get through it. That changed a bit, though, somewhere around two-thirds of the way into it when the perspective shifts to the other girl. I'd just spent 200 pages getting through the Verity's story and getting a grasp on what happened, when Maddie's narrative comes in (starting from the beginning again) and slowly tugs at threads of the story, unraveling things here and there to present a completely whole view. I was a little blindsided, and impressed, as everything started to subtly shift. This is definitely one that wants to be read again. It's true, though, that although Maddie's story was more interesting, it wasn't any less dense. You have to want to get through this, or you'll just end up setting it down and not working up the willpower to pick it up again. It was a pretty well-done story, in my opinion: their friendship is realistic and powerful and the book is personal and surprisingly intricate. Just, if you don't have patience, beware. Still, I think it's worth reading. There's copies at Kettleson, SHS, and Mt. Edgecumbe.

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