Thursday, May 30, 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Verity, a British secret agent, has been captured in France by the Gestapo.  There she is questioned and forced to reveal her mission.  Verity begins to tell her story, starting with her friend Maddie, a girl who dreamed of flying airplanes, to her own beginnings as a secret agent, to how she ended up alone in France.

The second half made the first half good.  It certainly was very cool to see how everything suddenly came together and made sense.  However, it didn't fix some glaring issues for me.  The entire first section of the book I was mostly just confused.  I couldn't understand what the point was.  Why was she writing this?  She was giving zero helpful information that the Nazi could actually use.  Why was she allowed to write it?  Why on Earth would she be allowed to write it in a narrative form?  It would be a waste of time and resources.  It was difficult for me because the entire premise of the book didn't make sense to me: That Verity would be writing this narrative of how she ended up a prisoner.

The second part, from Maddie's point of view also didn't really make sense.  For a girl that was so concerned about doing things the regulation way, and feared getting other people captured and killed, she would really have kept a detailed narrative of her time, with names of the people that helped her and exactly how they carried out their plans?  I know, I know.  Literary license, and we needed them to write it all down, or else how would we know?  But...I couldn't get passed it.  All the trouble has been gone to to create a realistic sense of place, except for this one thing the whole book revolves around wouldn't have actually happened.

If you can get past that, it's certainly a good story and great to see how everything comes together perfectly.  It was certainly good storytelling and good writing.  I enjoyed reading it.  I don't want to say too much about it, because it really was great how it all came together.  I made me go back to Verity's section a few times to see what she had written and how it matched up with what Maddie was revealing.

This was one of the Printz honor books, and I can see why it was chosen.  But man, it sure did bug me the whole time that the set up was how Verity was writing her confession.  In novel form.

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