It’s no secret that historical fiction, especially young adult historical fiction, is among my favorite types of books to read. I’ve discussed my top World War II and Holocaust YA novels here as well as my top five YA Historical fiction picks here.
When a co-worker recommended this book to me, frankly, I was surprised I hadn’t already picked it up and read it. Female pilots and spies circumventing Nazis during World War Two – the novel sounded right up my alley.
Goodreads says: 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.
My review: As Goodread’s summarizes, Verity and Maddie’s relationships is revealed throughout descriptions of the events which led to a wrecked plane and danger for the characters. I wanted to love this book; however, I just don’t. This book, for me, was good not great. In praise, I love what the author aimed for with this novel, and with many readers who love it, I’m happy that she explored this area of history with female pilots. Furthermore, the author wrote well, especially in the last half of the book where I felt like it really picked up pace and moved quick.
Why I didn’t love the novel? I’m very tired of fiction novels using several narrators, flashbacks, or movement in perspective. This time in history is so powerful, so I feel like the story should tell itself – not forcing the reader to jump back and forth in perspective. While this was, I believe, the author’s intention, I found much of the beginning plot confusing as the reader was attempting to piece together the story.
Because I enjoyed the characters, I wished for a separate novel for each . I wanted more time to get to know them and their lives, separately. Also, the detailed pilot and airplane descriptions were much appreciated but got in the way of the story. I can see that many readers may have liked that length of detail, but I wanted more of the action of Maddie flying.
In conclusion, I felt that there was so much too going on structurally (the different points of view, moving back and forth in time, and description of a series of events) for me to feel the story of the main characters. That being said, it was a good book, and I would still recommend it to many readers (and perhaps I’ll give it a second chance
Have you read Code Name Verity? What did you think?