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Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Leonicka Valcius: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

In a previous post I mentioned Code Name Verity as one of the books I was most excited about in 2012. I talked about it so much that one of the agents I worked with brought it back from BEA for me!

This book far exceeded my expectations. I knew it would be sad (I’m proud to report that I did not cry that much—I was able to dab away the tears quickly) but I didn’t think it would so powerful. As heartbreaking as it was, this book tells a story of love and triumph. I cannot recommend it enough.

The two protagonists Verity and Maddie are strong women but they are not stoic and cold. They are vulnerable. They are flawed. They are afraid. Wein uses a list of their fears as a clever characterization technique. We see how these fears shape their responses to difficult situations and how their lists evolve as they grow.

"I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old."

To tell the truth every character was nuanced and multi-faceted. I even found myself sympathizing with the Gestapo interrogator! (Don’t yell at me! Wein said it’s okay.) The characters (like the entire book, hint hint) are cloaked in subterfuge and are rarely what they initially appear to be.  

More than anything, this is a beautifully crafted book. Every detail is relevant (so read carefully, hint hint). Wein fits the characters, the plot, and the setting together like an elaborate jigsaw, yet each puzzle piece is whole on its own.  The hype is warranted, people. Go read this book.

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