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4.7 8
Young Adult Fiction 763
An Excellent Alternative to the Usual
Overall rating
Writing Style
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This book has been winning fans and followers since its release, and small wonder. It's refreshing, for one thing, to see a YA book garnering so much attention without having anything to do with the paranormal, or romance, or sequels. It's historical, too, and it's about time we celebrated a believably historical YA novel. Code Name Verity is told from two different points of view, both in the form of written confessionals. "Queenie," who goes by a number of different names throughout the book, begins the narrative imprisoned and interrogated by the Gestapo in WWII. She's been starved and tortured long enough, and she's ready to talk. Or write. As we read her account of her involvement in the British efforts against the Germans, we are mostly reading the story of her best friend, Maddie. Maddie is a mechanic and a pilot, so between the two of them, they make up the most unlikely pair of women in the whole of the British army. By the time the story shifts to Maddie's own account of things, we feel we've known her forever. It's a story of twists and turns, of gradually unraveling truths and lies in a richly personal account from two remarkable young women. The gravity of the narrative is wrapped in all the sass and gumption of these two, so that the reader almost forgets just how dark their situations are. It's an easy read in terms of how the story goes, but there's nothing easy about their lives. It's a story of friendship, bravery, resilience, and determination. By the final pages, you will love these two girls as much as they love each other. A few things to keep in mind: You will need to pay close attention all the way through, and you will need a box of tissues and a hand to cover your gasps of surprise.

Despite some acknowledged artistic license, this book would be an excellent way to integrate history and literature in a classroom. It's also a great way to teach foreshadowing and point of view if you happen to be tired of the old staples. I suspect this would not be relegated to the pile of books kids were forced to read but not love. I should also mention that even though this is definitely a girl power book, it's also a book about espionage, flying, and war. So if you have a room of stereotypical boys and unstereotypical girls, both camps will love it.
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