Slice of Life: Code Name Verity


“Tell all the truth but tell it slant…”

Emily Dickinson’s words came to mind as I reread Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, over the weekend. When I originally read Wein’s tale of intrigue and suspense, I was caught up in the story of the two heroines. This time, I was more aware of Wein’s craft: her masterful use of foreshadowing and literary allusions that deepen the reader’s understanding of the characters.

Hyperion, 2012
Hyperion, 2012

But even as I noticed subtleties and connections I hadn’t on my first read, I was worried that my book group might not share my feelings about this title. Recommending a book you love to a friend is one thing. Suggesting it to your discussion group is another. A friend can always say she hasn’t gotten around to reading the book yet. In a group, though, it can be very awkward if everyone doesn’t love a book as much as the person who said, “Let’s read this!”

I needn’t have worried. Everyone liked Code Name Verity, even if some of the details were disturbing. The “YA” sticker on the book’s spine didn’t matter to anyone. The story drew them in, and held on to them until the end.

This is a great book for discussion. There aren’t any unresolved plot lines, but there are plenty of questions. Each person had their own unique interpretations and brought up ideas others hadn’t thought of. Listening to one another added layers to our insight and understanding of this powerful book.

Our diverse little group came together because we love books. We’ve developed a camaraderie over the years, sharing the ups and downs of our lives as we share our latest reading. I’m grateful for this community where I feel free to share my thoughts and ideas about books that I love. Books like Code Name Verity, where the truth lies waiting, even if the stories are made up.

Thank you to everyone at Two Writing Teachers for creating this wonderful community!