I have to admit that I struggled with Code Name Verity at first; it was a slow read for me, one that I found difficult to get into but one that with an ending so powerful and unforgettable that it redeemed itself and made my experience completely turnaround!
Although this story is set in World War II, it's really a story about two girls who become best friends and what was most likely the period in their life that had the great impact on them. It's also written in journal format, which is something I've mentioned before that I never seem to take to well as a reader. But the story itself is a beautiful tale that leaves a mark on your heart.
Reasons to Read:
1.Lively, endearing characters:
Maddie and Queenie are two of the most incredible characters I have ever read about; their personalities literally jump off the pages, and they're just fantastic young women to read about. They're so realistic and familiar, that it's hard to believe that they're no more than fiction. Queenie, especially, was one character that I found totally endearing and striking. The choices she makes, the stories she tells... she's one character you WON'T forget soon. And Maddie is equally brave, in her own unique-Maddie way. Gah, I love these two so much!
2.An ending that'll make you go "WHAT?!":
Yeah, it' sone of THOSE endings. I mean, you kind of figure that you know what to expect... but it's still so heartbreaking and momentous and just THERE, and you really don't want it to happen. Yet, it's shocking all on its own. It's a good thing though, I mean, I loved it even though it made me tear up a bit too. It's a good book with feeling is what I'm trying to say, I suppose.
3.An interesing perspective of WW2:
And that ending? I won't spoil anything, but I think it does a noteworthy job (as does the book) of offering us readers a very interesting perspective of World War II, one that we wouldn't often get to see. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen a movie or read a book that deals with female pilots or wireless operatives. But on top of that, Queenie and Maddie aren't overly concerned with the war. They're concerned with doing their jobs properly and of meeting their expectations, but we also get to see all the little ways in which a war like this tears peoples' lives apart. Beautiful and tragic, all at the same time.
But I have to warn you that I struggled with the first half of the book. Queenie was easily my favourite character and I loved what she had to say, but I found the way it was written to be difficult to stick with. As I already mentioned, I'm not one to enjoy reading journal entries - I always find it lacking as a method of narration, because we only get to read what that person is writing down on paper. And it almost feels anti-climatic since everything said is being described after the fact and upon further reflection by an individual. Plus, I found Code Name Verity even more difficult to read as a journal because while Queenie's writing it, she's writing it from the perspective of her friend Maddie. Or, what she thinks Maddie's perspective/story would be and how to best tell it.
People told me to stick with it and keep reading and HOW GLAD AM I THAT I DID JUST THAT. I honestly would have felt like I missed out on one of the books of the year had I not finished this one. But I really enjoy historical fiction and this one is great- right down to the writing style and character voices/slang used. Another fair warning though: there's a lot of talk of airplanes and flying that went way over my head. A lot of it. I think it's more so to set an atmosphere and get into the character's heads but it can drag on to read about.
And I should add that by the time I finishd the book I realized that the journal style was necessary for the set up of the story; I can't fathom any other way that it would've worked as well as it did.
This books is one of the few that gets better after you read it. The way it sinks in, and you can't get it out of your head. It isn't a book that you finish and forget about immediately afterwards.
ARC/e-galley received from Random House Canada for review.