Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

          Stunning book, simply smashing. I couldn’t even begin to review the plot here since it is so wonderfully told that even a hint of it could give away the twists at the end. To sum it up, however, it’s a great tale of incredible loyal friendship, bravery and cleverness, with sprinkles of wit. The story centers around Verity and Maddie, best friends during WWII separated in Nazi occupied France. Verity makes a deal with the Gestapo in exchange for a few more weeks of life. She tells them she will down everything they want to know on whatever paper they can give her. Strangely, though, this “everything” is not scribbled out in a list, but written in third person about herself from her closest friend, Maddie’s view.
          At first I was slightly skeptical, thinking that this book may be a little scary, but instead by Chapter 2 was I simply riveted on every page, even when Verity rambles (because you just keep getting this feeling that the rambling is somehow important, *hint hint)*. I would have to mention that I do not really think this book is best suited to teenagers, even though it is put in the Young Adult section at libraries. I do feel that it is more of an adult book. While the story itself is not true, Wein does draw from true events to make it as real as possible, and much of what occurs to and around Verity was very real, though sometimes startling and bleakly so. There are a few places that are a little graphic, but I think Wein’s last words sum it up: “LEST WE FORGET.” It’s important not to forget the terribleness of the second World War; if we forget, we won’t remember why it was so wrong in the first place and what the war was fought for.
          To all those historical accuracy nerds, please don’t pick on this book for any inaccuracies. I think Wein did one spectacular job on her research, doing her best to make it as accurate as possible, but she does say in her Afterward that mistakes may have been made (we’re all human, right?). The historical accuracy of the book is not the point. The point is the characters of the story and it’s plot. It’s a story, for goodness sake. Wein has a certain gift for character development that is to be treasured on any book worm’s shelf. This is one of the best books I have read yet this year. It reminded me not to take friendship for granted and not to forget even the darkest moments in our lives, because that is what God uses to turn on the light through us.

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