Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Code Name Verity (review)
Code Name Verity (Goodreads | Amazon) exceeded my high expectations. It feels like everyone has given this novel glowing reviews, so mine almost feels unnecessary. If I didn't absolutely love this book I wouldn't even review it. But I did love it, to an almost evangelical point and feel the need to share the world about it. What I love most about Code Name Verity is that it's first and foremost the story of a glorious friendship between two teenage girls. So many books focus on romance, making girls competitors, but this book focuses on a different kind of love and admiration, the relationship between Maddie and Queenie.
The story starts in Nazi prison, where one of the girls is being interrogated. They want information about airfields, spies and the British war effort in occupied France. What they don't take into account is their prisoner, a brilliant girl, great with languages who studied at the best boarding school in Switzerland. She gives them radio codes and information in exchange for the opportunity to record her story, the story of two best friends who love each more than anything in the world.
All of this takes place against the backdrop of WWII, with interesting history involving women's pilots and civilian spies that the broad-strokes of my high school social studies course never covered. It's fascinating and terrifying the position these girls find themselves in, and the lengths they're willing to go to for each other and their country. You will rarely meet characters and fleshed out and complicated as these two girls. They're both brilliant and brave, each in their own individual way. They react to things differently, come from different social backgrounds, but find common ground as two willful young girls with interests that take them beyond a typical woman's place in society.
The problem with reviewing this book, is that like any good spy novel it has it's secrets. So there are things I can't elaborate on or explain, but trust me they're worth waiting for. This book is evocative and breathtaking. Emotionally, you won't come through this book unscathed. But it's a story that needs to be told and a book that I expect will stand the test of time.
I listened to this on audiobook and so should you. The narration is just spectacular, hitting all the emotional notes (and they're a lot of them), AMAZING accents and perfect narration. This was the type of audiobook that made me want to fill my car up with gas and just drive until I'd finished the story. At the same time, due to the nature of the story, it was the type of audiobook where I sometimes had to pause and come up for fresh air because emotionally I had to step back from the story. If you consider yourself a lover of accents or a connoisseur of audiobooks, either find this at your local library or buy it outright, either way it's worth it.