Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein Code Name Verity opens with a young girl in a Nazi holding camp in Occupied France. She's a captured British spy who has been tortured mercilessly for information and become a collaborator. She agrees to write down everything she knows about the British war effort in exchange for not being tortured any more. And so begins the story of Verity/Julie and her friend Maddie, a pilot, narrated by both before the end of the book. It's hard to write about the plot of Code Name Verity without spoiling it, but the narrator is unreliable and there are many twists and turns. Is Julie really a collaborator? Is she telling them everything she knows?I liked Code Name Verity. It's a solidly written book with many well-plotted twists. I spent the first part of the book perplexed as there seemed to be a big difference between what Verity was saying (I'm petrified and will do anything to stop the torture) and her character, which was still lively and unbroken. As the book went on, the reasons for this became clearer and I understood Verity/Julie a lot better. Wein just about manages to pull off the deceit in the characters that makes the twists believable. There is a lot of suffering and torture in Code Name Verity, but it wasn't hard hitting. Bad things happen to the characters and Wein tried to show the impact of that, but I never really felt it. I wanted to feel Verity's fear and pain but the way she wrote about it prevented that. Had I felt more connected to Verity, more "in her shoes", I would have enjoyed the book more than I did. I liked the plotting and trying to figure out who was telling the truth but there was always a distance in my reading experience. Essentially, the characters didn't feel 'real' for their situation; at times Verity felt like a modern teenager, not a teenager of war forced to grow up too quickly.I did enjoy the character of Maddie though. She is more straightforward and written in a relatable way. When Maddie writes of her love of flying, I wanted to be right there in the plane with her, soaring over the white cliffs of Dover. As a whole, the book was a page turner and it was one I ripped through very quickly. It was just lacking that 'oomph' and depth to turn it from a book I liked to a book I loved.