Code Name Verity

Eliz­a­beth Wein

  • Review
By – August 30, 2013

It would be a dis­ser­vice to give away too much of the plot of Code Name Ver­i­ty. Part of the book’s pow­er is its abil­i­ty to con­tin­u­al­ly sur­prise. Wein tells the sto­ry in first per­son, from the points of view of two young women, best friends, whose British spy plane crash­es in Nazi-occu­pied France in 1943. One is soon arrest­ed, and makes a deal with her interroga­tors to give them the truth about her mis­sion. But whose truth? And will the truth save her, or save any­one else? This is an amaz­ing piece of writ­ing — in turns, grip­ping, poet­ic, devas­tating, poignant, and even defi­ant­ly fun­ny. Though Judaism is not explic­it in the sto­ry, it hov­ers all around the edges; the con­fes­sion” is scrawled on the only paper pro­vid­ed to the pris­on­er — the con­fis­cat­ed pre­scrip­tion pads of one Ben­jamin Zyl­ber­berg (com­plete with a stamped warn­ing and a yel­low star) and the dis­card­ed music paper of an Esther Levi. We even­tu­al­ly find out that one of the pro­tag­o­nists is also Jew­ish. Code Name Ver­i­ty is a heart-pound­ing, heart-wrench­ing read and a sto­ry that will stay with you long, long after you turn the last page.

Leslie Kim­mel­man grew up out­side Philadel­phia and grad­u­at­ed from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Stud­ies; and Syd­ney Tay­lor Notable Books. Kim­mel­man is an edi­tor at Sesame Work­shop and lives with her fam­i­ly just north of New York City.

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