“But a part of me lies buried in lace and roses on a riverbank in France-a part of me is broken off forever. A part of me will be unflyable, stuck in the climb.”

What is this book about?

Code Name Verity is about two young women in World War II, their friendship and the horrors they have to go through. Maddie and Queenie meet each other during a tense moment on a UK airport base and they immediately admire and like each other. What follows is their friendship, while they both move up the ranks in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

Why is it boring?

Whenever I read a book that is historical fiction, I keep apologizing for it, because history is boring. But it isn’t really, so I’ll stop doing that.  What you might find boring though, are all the piloting bits. I loved it, as I like learning about new things, but Wein does spend a lot of time writing about Maddie flying a plane in great detail. She herself is a pilot, so I imagine her enthusiasm about the subject had something to do with it.

Who would you recommend it to?

If you like historical fiction or are interested in the role of women during World War II, this is your book. Wein did a lot of research and even though the story is completely made up, she made sure that it could have happened. It’s very interesting to see how young women tried to help out during the war, not just as nurses, but even as pilots and interrogators. Besides that it’s a heart wrenching novel about war which will make you weak in the knees.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

This book was up against Chains and unlike that YA novel, Code Name Verity felt much more like a story. Both authors did their research and made sure that the book was truthful in a way, but with Chains I always felt so aware of the author trying to teach us something. With Code Name Verity, I felt like Wein wrote this book because it was a story she wanted to tell, not a history she wanted us to learn. Already from the start I felt engaged with the characters and the written narrative works so well for the tale that Wein, but also Queenie is spinning.  The writing is strong and besides that, I’m a sucker for YA that doesn’t have a romance as the center of the story. The entire novel  focuses on the friendship between Maddie and Queenie and the absolute despair when one of them gets caught. Oh and that ending… I still feel it. I feel it in my heart that has been blown to pieces! The only thing I liked less than the rest, was when the perspective shifted from Queenie to Maddie. Queenie is such a strong and interesting character, that Maddie somewhat pales in comparison. Maddie herself is a great gal and an awesome pilot and mechanic, but I don’t think her personality was strong enough to carry the entire second half of the novel. But her relationship with Queenie’s brother was amazing again though. I know I just said I like it when romance isn’t the main thing, but those two had some chemistry! I’m definitely looking forward to reading and reviewing the second part of the Code Name Verity series about a pilot/poet called Rose Justice. That Wein does know her way around names…

Rating: 4/5

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Author

Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She’s one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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