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.