This book took me awhile to really get into. It definitely wasn’t bad, it just didn’t suck me in the way I expected to. The description, a young female spy held prisoner and tortured by the Nazis, gave me a much different impression of what this book would be. At it’s core, Code Name Verity is the story of a powerful female friendship and what one friend will do to save another. It was only about midway through the book when the perspective shifted that I was unable to put this book down.
The first half of the book is told by “Queenie,” a British spy against the Nazis for the Allied Forces. At the beginning of the book she is being held in an old hotel in occupied France which the Nazis are using as a prison/interrogation center. She is being forced to write everything she knows about the British Defense and French Resistance forces. Queenie is writing everything down in the form of a novel in which she tells the story of her friendship with Maddie, a British pilot dropped her into occupied French territory before crashing her plane. After Queenie concludes her narrative, the story shifts to Maddie’s perspective. As is often the case, this mid-novel perspective shift completely turns everything we thought we knew on its head.
This is a spy story but it is also the story of two singular women thrown into a harrowing situation and using all of their wits and their talents to try and save one another. I had to put this book down and have myself a good cry at one point. The next time a literary snob tries to tell you that YA writing isn’t art, buy them a hard copy of this book and beat them soundly about the head and shoulders with it…or make them read it, whatever.