Saturday, January 26, 2013

Code Name Verity

It's impossible to talk about the plot of Code Name Verity very much because I'm in danger of giving away the whole thing if I get started, so, I'll describe it in broad terms.  It's about these two young women (20ish? 18, maybe?) during WWII.  One's Scottish, her nickname's Queenie and she's a spy (YES!), the other is English, she's a pilot.  They meet while in training and become best friends.  We learn this while Queenie is writing her "confession" to the Nazis, who've captured her in France.  That's not a spoiler, you learn that right away.

So, poor Queenie's captured in France and being held in a hotel turned prison, tortured and forced to write down everything she knows.  I just finished an unputdownable book, So Much Pretty, and then, what do you know but THIS book is keeping me up way past my bedtime because I can't put it down either!  I may have mentioned when I was a kid I loved reading books about WWII - if this YA book had come out when I was a teenager, I probably would've just gone to Spy Heaven.  Forever Young Adult has gone so nuts over this book they even made a style board about it.  (Yes, I would like those shoes, thank you.)

I was a bit disappointed by the end, for reasons I can't really talk about, but something compelling happened that forced me to go back and read about half of the book again, right after finishing it, and I'm fairly eager to put this in the mail immediately for my sister to read.  I wish there had been more kissing.  Oh, if you don't know what "Kiss me, Hardy" means, you'll need to read this in advance.  And this, just for fun.

Elizabeth Wein sprinkles bits of French and German through the book, and translates most of it for you.  I think that's one of the aspects of this book that puts it in the YA category.   (I'm currently working on a complicated theory of what makes a YA book....).  I don't like it when authors translate bits, I prefer to figure it out myself.  Also there's no romance, although there's an implied future between Maggie and Queenie's brother.

So, trust me, if you like spy stuff, and girl-power stuff, and WWII stuff, read it.  The characters are really plucky and terrific; you'll wish they were your best friends.

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