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Book Review

‘Code Name Verity’


Book 040413Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Reviewed by Julie Goodrich                

Hyperion Books

May 15, 2012



343 pp.

There are times when simple description isn’t really enough to properly frame a book. Suggesting a young-adult novel to any adult is usually an exercise in frustration. Adding that it’s essentially historical fiction about a pair of best friends in World War II will likely cause most to mumble something noncommittal and promptly forget the recommendation. I wouldn’t blame them, but it would be a mistake.

This is a stunning, beautifully crafted thrill ride of book that transcends genres and tosses clichés out the window. It’s a spy novel that captures the essence of friendship, a war novel that can be laugh-out-loud funny, a novel of truth buried in lies. Airplanes, royalty, radio codes, farmland, rebellion, freedom, torture, bravery — this book encompasses so many themes and contains so many sharp, living characters, it lingers long past reading. It’s a haunting story, vivid and real on the one hand, while being just fantastical enough to keep the pages turning frantically.

The plot itself is a spoiler, making description even more difficult. Suffice to say, it is a novel of two British women — one a spy, one a pilot — put in impossible situations and who stand as models of what friendship really means. This book serves as a reminder that young-adult literature has a lot more to offer than vampires, can be exceedingly well-written and can indeed cross the generational gap. Don’t miss this one: You’ll regret it. CV

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