Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Code Name Verity: A Compelling YA Read

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, her Nazi interrogators give her a terrible choice- record her confession of her mission, or be executed. With each page, Verity intricately weaves her confession, uncovering her past, her friendship with Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked and burning fuselage of their plane. With each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life. But will it be enough to save her from the enemy?

Wow! Wow! Wow! Really- those were the first words that came to mind the entire time I was reading this, and while it started out a bit slow, it became a book I stayed up late reading. I first heard about this on Twitter, and when enough people start raving about something, I take notice!  It's suspenseful, engaging, gut-wrenching, and just an all-around emotional roller coaster. I just don't feel like there are enough words to properly describe what a mind-blowing and essential read this book is.

Code Name Verity is one of those books that is so intricate and complex that you'll keep thinking about it long after you finish reading. It's also the kind of book that adult readers will absolutely devour. You don't read it and think "Wow, this is a great YA novel." You think "Wow! This is a great novel- period!" The first section, structured as a written-confession is told from Verity's point of view (we don't learn her real name until later), and through it, we come to know and love this incredibly brave woman. What does she actually know about the plans of the British? Something, or nothing, but she knows that whatever she tells them, she'd better make it good if she wants to stay alive. On the brink of exhaustion, cold, hungry, and a victim of torture, Verity never falters. She is courageous, gutsy, and quick-witted, and the story she tells is one of tremendous friendship and loyalty.

In an unexpected twist, the perspective shifts to Maddie for the second part of the book, who unbeknownst to Verity has survived the crash and is alive and well, and working with the resistance. Her mission is not as much about the war, as it is about finding a way to rescue Verity. Maddie's story perfectly compliments Verity's story, filling in the gaps in her story. There is, it turns out, a great deal about Verity and Maddie's mission that we didn't know about, and Maddie fills in many of those details. I know I had several "holy crap" moments as a fuller picture came into focus.

The WWII backdrop offers readers fascinating insight into the lives of female pilots during the war, but above all, Code Name Verity is a story of friendship, loyalty and courage. It is about two young women who become as close as sisters, and who are fully prepared to die for one another. It's about friendship and the loyalty, and how far they would go to protect one another.