Sunday, November 18, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

"Oct. 11, 1943. A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a shot at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun." -- from inside the dust jacket of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

This World War II adventure had me spellbound from the opening lines. The Gestapo have given Julie a choice: write down the details of her mission, or else be executed. Like Sheherazade, she spins out her tale over time, but it isn't enough to save her from ongoing brutality.

"Of course I was not allowed to take the paper into my room with me (in case I should tear it into strips and weave it into a rope with which to hang myself, I suppose), so had to wait for a while in the big outer chamber while von Linden was busy with someone else. See me, cowering in the corner in my wrist and leg irons, clutching my armful of blank recipe cards and trying not to notice what they were doing to Jacques's fingers and toes with bits of hot metal and tongs."

Code Name Verity straddles the boundary between adult fiction and YA. It is about a friendship so strong that it inspires extreme acts of heroism. It is such a good story.

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