“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity
Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Thriller
Pages: 366 (10th Anniversary Paperback)
First Published: February 6th, 2012
Code Name Verity turns 10!
*SERIES SPOILERS MENTIONED BELOW*
I first read Code Name Verity in 2019 and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite books. Since then I have read the entire series which includes Rose Under Fire, The Pearl Thief, and The Enigma Game. I think about these books often. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of YA, but there’s something about this series that hooked me.
Of the four books, I think my favorite is Rose Under Fire. Code Name Verity is a close second, but the plot of Rose Under Fire hit so much deeper for me. Having Rose wind up in a prison camp and befriending the Polish ‘rabbits’ (human experiments) and focusing on their shared bunk/quarters made it even more intimate. All of the books center on friendship, and though nothing can beat the friendship between Julie and Maddie in Code Name Verity, I was so touched by Rose and Ròża’s friendship in Rose Under Fire, especially in the last few lines of the book.
The Pearl Thief and The Enigma Game are also examples of friendships. I’d say The Enigma Game has more diversity in this area, seeing Ellen and Jamie’s connection of some years — some history there but ultimately a platonic relationship — as well as young Louisa’s friendship with the elder Jane. Then of course Julie makes an appearance showcasing her sibling friendship with Jamie, her old friend Ellen, and befriending Louisa. I read The Enigma Game before The Pearl Thief and I wish I’d read the latter first so I could have had more perspective on Ellen at the time. But a good thing about this series is that all of these can read as standalones.
On to the bonus content in the recent publication!
A bittersweet feeling came over me when I started reading. I’ve not heard anything about a continuation of the series so I’m left to wonder if the letters between the characters from Code Name Verity and The Enigma Game surrounding Julie’s memorial are a final sendoff. The bonus material also states Elizabeth Wein is working on a new thriller in a different universe (for which I’m very excited!). Logically, I know there isn’t much more than can be done with this series (maybe a book following Anna Engel?). As a reader, I never want it to end.
Along with the letters between Anna, Maddie, Jamie, Louisa, and Esme, there is 10 Years Later essay that discusses the creation of the book, the impact it’s had over the years, and comparisons to the other books in the series (mainly Rose Under Fire). I love how much heart Elizabeth has put into these books, and I like the full disclosure that Code Name Verity left the biggest mark given she wasn’t bound to contracts and deadlines. The background of the series is interesting, too, which she goes into a little bit here. I’ve watched more in-depth discussions on YouTube in the past, so a couple of tidbits mentioned in the essay brought those back to me.
If you’re a fan of the series, I say it’s worth running out and getting the anniversary copy. The letters add a sense of closure to Julie’s fate, even though these come before Rose Under Fire and there’s no mention of Rose and her fellow prisoners. IN addition to the letters and essay, there is also a preview of The Enigma Game which is the most recently published book in the series as well as a preview of Elizabeth Wein’s upcoming book Stateless.