Code Name Verity

By . 9 CDs. 10 hrs. Prod. by Bolinda Audio. Dist. by Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-7428-5764-0. $59.97.
Gr 9 Up—Wein's award-winning novel (Hyperion, 2012) is a brilliant story of two young women during World War II who are brought together to support the British RAF. Though from opposite stations in life, Maddie and Queenie (Verity) are both brash, confident, and beautiful, and their friendship is heartfelt. The story unfolds gracefully through written confessions of one of the women who was captured by Nazis after their plane went down in France. The friends are separated after this tragedy, and they (and listeners) are left to wonder if both of them have survived. The prisoner's testimony is crafted to confess the truth, while misleading her Nazi interrogators. At times details about airplanes, mechanics, incendiaries, and such leave listeners feeling woefully inadequate. Graphic accounts of torture and death are put forth in explicit detail. Wein is a master at recounting both horrible events and the emotional subtleties which define the lives of these two heroines. Narration by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell is superb, especially with Scottish, British, French, German, and English so beautifully spoken. An excellent choice for thoughtful, mature listeners.—Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Museum Teacher/Fellow
This is the intimate story of two young women in WWII: one is a spy, the other a pilot. One has a chance -- the other is doomed. The circumstances of war throw them together, and they become the best of friends. In fact, the book is ultimately about friendship. The audio features two different narrators portraying the two characters -- one is a refined, aristocratic Scotswoman; the other, a working-class girl from Manchester. As Julie, Christie is convincing -- her tones are subdued, as a tortured prisoner's would be. Her voicing of the narrative conveys Julie's exhaustion, fear, anger, frustration, and sadness. Gaskell's Maddie is a bit less believable (her narration has several noticeable edits, and her accent is more refined than Maddie's perhaps would have been), though the story is so compelling that one doesn't really mind. All in all, this is a fine audio of a thrilling, emotional, and devastatingly honest book. Friends like these don't come along every day, nor do books of this caliber. "Fly the plane, Maddie." angela j. reynolds

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