Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This is yet another amazing book I waited way too long to pick up. It has a great story and wonderfully drawn characters. Our story is told by two narrators, best friends who have been separated by a tragic plane crash over Nazi-occupied France during World War II. One of the young women is Maddie, the pilot who shouldn’t even have been flying the plane that day. The other, nicknamed Queenie, is a Scottish spy whose fluent German makes her the perfect undercover “German agent,” who’s often able to trick actual German soldiers into giving up their secrets in the guise of debriefing. The hard part comes when she is captured by the Gestapo, who will stop at nothing to get information from her.
This tightly plotted book is often brutal; Wein’s descriptions of the torture leave little to the reader’s imagination. But, the story is quickly paced, forcing readers to continue, even when they would rather not. Readers slowly learn about the two girls, what their lives were like before the war, and how they came to be where they were, when most women in Britain’s military topped out at being radio operators. I recommend this to readers who like historical fiction, readers looking for novels with a wartime setting, and young adults who appreciate strong, female protagonists.
Here’s a book trailer with real pictures from World War II.