After many recommendations and requesting to be a giver for the book for World Book Night, I knew I’d read Code Name Verity. Only, I’m sad to say, I didn’t love it. It’s a setting and time period that I usually find very palatable in reading. It includes women doing awesome things and breaking barriers, which I love. And it’s also great to read a YA WWII book that isn’t about a Jew in a concentration camp or hiding in an attic. Though there is some of that in a peripheral sense.
I liked it, but I didn't love it. Why? The beginning is difficult. Other reviews mention that it is tricky and doesn’t pull you in. I’d have to agree. For being dropped into the action of one of our main characters being interrogated by the Gestapo, I was expecting to be immediately hooked. However, the beginning is very disorienting, understandably so but not great for reading. You’re not even who’s speaking/writing. You’re not sure what information she knows (thus why she’s being kept alive to write this confession of sorts). A lot of technical information about aircraft, flying, and military procedures is listed. It was hard to have an emotional connection with the character at all because you weren’t even sure what had happened and what was going on. This was realistic, but again, challenging as a reader since it broke the usual structure of building a novel.
I kept waiting for the impetus to love the book, and it happened perhaps too late. I appreciated the second section of the book vastly more, which has me wondering if I would have liked Code Name Verity if the two narratives had been interwoven throughout the novel. I’m not sure. I certainly like that we had two perspectives of overlapping events. And Wein was clever to reveal characterization in the way she did. Once I got to the second section, I found myself flipping back and re-reading the same event from Verity’s point of view. That was intriguing. And the ending was richly satisfying. I always appreciate a good ending.
I'm still happy that this is my choice for world Book Night as I do think it's a YA novel that would appeal to both male and female and resonates with readers long after they've finished reading.