Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

A young woman captured by the Gestapo in France as a British spy is given a temporary... read more

A young woman captured by the Gestapo in France as a British spy is given a temporary reprieve from torture by agreeing to write down everything she can about the British war effort. But the story she tells seems one of personal friendship rather than political intrigue. It’s a tale of two young women—Maddie and Julie. One working class, one upper class. One a pilot for the war effort, one something far more mysterious. “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend,” Julie writes. It was Maddie who flew the plane from which Julie parachuted behind enemy lines before it crashed in Elizabeth Wein’s engrossing work of historical fiction. And it is Maddie who takes up the story in Part 2. Saved by the Resistance, she’s in hiding while awaiting a rescue flight when she discovers the fate of her best friend Julie, now a Gestapo prisoner. Wein’s richly satisfying novel builds tension with every turn of the page. More and more about her incredibly distinctive and well-drawn characters is revealed as the narrative unfolds through writing so skillful and clues so subtle that Julie’s role as a reliable narrator in Part 1 is never in doubt, until it becomes clear she has never abandoned her mission. This story full of complexities, codes, and deceptions of many kinds nonetheless speaks powerfully and truthfully about many things, including friendship, courage, and many kinds of resistance. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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