Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

So you get to the one part in the book (and anyone who’s read it will know what I’m talking about) and you stop, stunned. And you go back and you read the last part over again. And if you’re me, and essentially a British schoolgirl at your core, like Maddy you burst into uncontrollable tears.

This book, about two young women working for the British during World War II, is a sensational depiction of gender and friendship in wartime. Both incredibly clever and deeply moving, it pulls no punches as our narrators describe the horror of warfare and living under Nazi rule. Code Name Verity balances out the grimness with sly humor, moments of beauty and, above all, an abiding faith in the bond between the two women. I am always partial to books about best friends, and this novel was far and away one of the best, if almost unbearably gallant, visions of such.

My only complaint about this book is that there isn’t that much difference between the women’s narrative voices, but given that the social background of “British schoolgirl” extends to them both, it’s forgivable. Regardless, it will take me quite a while to recover from this intense, amazing book.

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