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Code Name Verity is a very cleverly written and captivating book, exploring the lives and roles of two women during World War 2. During that period in history women were generally housewives and mothers, however, when a large proportion of the male population were sent off to fight on the frontline, women took over the ‘men’s’ jobs back home. While the characters in this novel do work as a spy and a pilot (both jobs which require people who are very well trained), I felt as though their roles in the war brought light to the roles of women all across the country and how they changed.
Julie is a very strong, confident, witty and intelligent woman. She doesn’t have much chance at survival when she crash lands in Nazi-occupied France and is taken by the Nazis she cleverly convinces her captors to give her two weeks to explain everything that happened in an attempt to give her would-be-rescuers more time to help her. Throughout most of the book you, as the reader, feel as though you are learning very important secrets. However, as the book goes on you realise that while you may know the characters childhoods, their relationship and their lives very well, nothing about Julie/Queenie’s work is divulged. While Julie is writing her ‘life story’ down, I really got the sense that she also wanted this project as a way to mock and mess with her captors. She deliberately offends the Nazis in her writing and uses humour, which further shows how she is mocking the Nazis. Maddie’s character is also a very distinct and her role as a pilot links in a lot to the role of women in World War Two. Had there been enough men to fill all the planes, Maddie would most likely have not been selected. Furthermore, I think that the author’s ability to weave together two different characters as she does and creating the twists in the book is truly amazing and really engages the reader.
Code-Name Verity is a very exciting book as it tells the story from the perspective of ladies in the war and defies all stereotype war books. It shows that the war was not all about fighting on the frontline. The confusion at the beginning leads to the excellence of the book as everything clicks into place at the end. I really enjoyed the narration as it is from two peoples perspective but the narration is total opposites making it easy to recognise the difference in people. This book has you feeling anxious to suddenly relieved in the space of a few short words and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
This is one of those books that has some tricks up its sleeve – I read it first when it was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and I remember then being thrilled by some of the revelations of the characters’ true identities. Re-reading it now was still a thrill. Knowing some of the secrets just made me admire the author’s ability to weave together the different threads. As a reader, you are gripped – anticipating one outcome and until gradually you realize nothing you believed was trustworthy. In our group discussion of the book, we talked about how confusing it could have been for readers to mix up the two main characters, especially as Julie is trying to hide her identity as a spy, but in fact they each had their own strong and distinct narrative voice throughout the book. I found the descriptions of flying dazzling. Most of all it was refreshing to read some war fiction with two strong female characters as the protagonists and not merely helpless bystanders or victims. A great read.
Code-Name Verity was an excellent book with exceptional story telling and a fantastically detailed plot that gave a real insight into both the lives of French resistance members and wireless operators. The way that the first half of the story was told was a bit hard to understand originally but the story eliminated the element of confusion very quickly. The change of narrator halfway through was very interesting however that was also slightly confusing.
The author convinces the reader very quickly that the first half is entirely truthful, however in the second half of the book it is found that it was far from it. My largest problem with the book was the area where the author had obviously tried to make an emotional link but failed. The scene where(spoilers) one of the main characters dies at the hands of another wasn’t emotional at all, although in some ways it represented how WW2 was fought: Brutally quickly, leaving little space and time for greaving a single life.
This book was very good, and particularly hard to stop reading once I had started, it highlighted some good issues of the war, amongst that how much secret work went on behind enemy lines. I would reccomend this book, particularly over some of the other books in the list.
Code Name Verity was a brilliantly written book that had me hooked from the very start. I really enjoyed the way that it described life as a spy, not often told in books. It made the reader understand that the war wasn’t just constant action on the front line but there was underground work going on as well. I have yet to find another book that tells the story from the perspective of a lady in the war. There was an excellent contrast made between the upbringing of the girls and how it changed their perspective on things. I also liked the way that it was told from both Queenie/Julie and Maddie’s view. Overall, it defied all stereo types associated with war books and carried it off well!
Captivating – I had to read this twice to really make sense of the twists and turns in the plot – highly recommended.