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- ethan47 - This is a must read book. You are taken through a shocking story of friendship and courage, and truly connect with each character through their own writing. I recommend this book to everyone! As well as to people who don't prefer historical fiction.
Starred review from April 16, 2012
Wein (The Empty Kingdom) serves up a riveting and often brutal tale of WWII action and espionage with a powerful friendship at its core. Captured Scottish spy Queenie has agreed to tell her tale—and reveal any confidential information she knows—in exchange for relief from being tortured by Nazis. Her story, which alternates between her early friendship with a pilot named Maddie and her recent sufferings in prison, works both as a story of cross-class friendship (from an upper-crust family, Queenie realizes that she would likely never have met Maddie under other circumstances) and as a harrowing spy story (Queenie’s captor, von Loewe, is humanized without losing his menace). Queenie’s deliberately rambling and unreliable narration keeps the story engaging, and there are enough action sequences and well-delivered twists (including a gut-wrenching climax and late revelations that will have readers
returning to reread the first half of the book) to please readers of all stripes. Wein balances the horrors of war against genuine heroics, delivering a well-researched and expertly crafted adventure. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown.
Starred review from March 1, 2012
Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II. In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information--"everything I can remember about the British War Effort"--in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place. A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)
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Starred review from July 1, 2012
Gr 9 Up-What is truth? The significance of Julia Beaufort-Stuart's alias, "Code Name Verity," takes on double meaning in this taut, riveting, thriller. When the story begins, Julia is an unnamed prisoner, formerly a wireless operator for the British, held captive in France by a seemingly sadistic Nazi interrogator. She has supposedly "sold her soul" in exchange for small bits of freedom, giving pieces of code in exchange for her life. Interspersed with the story of her fierce fight for survival is a different tale: that of how she came to be in France and of her friendship with Maddie Brodatt, a British civilian pilot. Their unlikely friendship-Julia is a noblewoman, Maddie a commoner-forms the backbone of the novel, and Wein seamlessly weaves its threads throughout the book, tying them like the knots of a rope. As Julia tells their story, she also reveals small bits of her attempts at survival and escape. In the second half of the book, Maddie narrates, telling of her desperate attempts to rescue her friend and revealing both the truth of what happened to each of them, and the truth of Julia's bravery. This intricate tale is not for the faint of heart, and readers will be left gasping for the finish, desperate to know how it ends. With a seemingly unreliable narrator, strong friendship, wonderful historical details, and writing that fairly crackles on the page, this is an excellent book for thoughtful readers and book-discussion groups.-Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA
Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Starred review from October 1, 2015
A quick-witted British girl whose plane has crashed in Nazi-occupied France is forced by the Gestapo to confess to her country's war plans. Her writings detail her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who crashed the plane. A must for young adult collections, as is Wein's companion novel, Rose Under Fire, whose intelligence and emotional depth will appeal to adult readers as well. Pearl Cornioley's autobiography, Code Name Pauline, covers similar ground and can provide needed context to Wein's story. (LJ 11/15/12)
Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
PublisherDisney Book Group
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