I recently finished reading Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, the acclaimed story of a captured British WWII spy, told from her point of view during interrogation by the Nazis. I'm not going to do a review, because I don't really review books, and this is a book about which much has been written elsewhere. But these three things did occur to me while reading, and I thought I would share them:
1. If you're
weary of romance in YA and want a book in which the primary relationship
is a friendship, try this book. I am not weary of romance, but I still
liked the concentration on another kind of close relationship.
I loved what Wein did with a certain secondary character. He's
important in the Resistance and thus is a good guy ... right? Except
he's also a sexual harasser. I love the complexity of a character being
both noble and sleazy. Because it's the way real people are. History
(and current events) are full of people who do great things but are not
saints. I would like to see more of this in literature.
3. If you liked this book, try Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945, by Leo Marks. It's the nonfiction account of a British cryptographer's experience during WWII. In Code Name Verity,
they mention "poem codes" in passing, but Marks describes what poem
codes were in more detail, and how he trained spies to use them, and how
he worked to come up with safer codes, and what it was like to see
spies go out into enemy territory, and what challenges were associated
with decoding messages. It was fascinating, sometimes funny and
sometimes heart-breaking, and I think that having read it enabled me to
appreciate Code Name Verity even more.
source of recommended read: bought