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28 May 2016 @ 06:32 pm
Book Review: Code Name Verity  
I'm sorry!

I just feel like I have to start with an apology.

I'm sorry but I didn't get it... I failed to see all the hype about this book. Everyone I know that read this book, fell completely in love with it, and I feel like I have to say I'm sorry because I didn't liked it.

Code Name Verity

Originally published: 2012
Author: Elizabeth E. Wein
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Historical Drama
(reading time: May 24 - May 28)
I have to say it wasn't the story the part that I didn't like. It was a very powerful story about a beautiful friendship during very difficult times. The author did a great job with the book... She wrote about two girls: a pilot and a spy, during WWII. We all know that there were women doing these jobs, as well as men, during the war. These women fought and suffered just as hard as any men and it wasn't their time... We all tend to forget that. In Italy women won the right to vote in 1945, in UK (if I remember correctly) it was 1928 when women finally received the right to vote on the same terms as men (over the age of 21). I think this is a powerful book if it's put in the hands of a (old) teenager, and I appreciated this. My problem with the book was its narrative.

It had a purpose for the story of course, but it was so hard to be able to read. I just don't like book set as diaries, I find it annoying because the writer often feels like he/she has to write as a child and put on paper everything that goes through the mind of the person in a very chaotic way. With this book, in the same paragraph we had technical informations, the main character referring to herself in third person and first person, the narrator was telling the story from the point of view of another character, there was dialogue, random thoughts, flashbacks, the environment, and what people around her is doing while she's writing... Plus random insults to the Nazis (who were then receiving the papers to read them). I don't see how the Nazis - the worst kind of people among all the Wars - could allow a girl to write a novel instead of writing down the informations they needed. They torture her, yes. But they would have not let this girl write a 200 pages essay about the adventures of her best friend: a civilian pilot who dropped her in France where she got captured. The first 100 pages were very slow and when I got to the second part (where it was the time for the pilot girl: Maggie to talk) I was extremely disappointed when the author decided to stick with the same style, not just the diary style but the random thoughts, flashbacks and a constant "i should not write this down or I'll end up in trouble or killed but I'm doing it anyway for no reason whatsoever. This made the book very difficult for me to read. So yes, sorry, I didn't liked it!

This book is a YA novel and I think it would be the perfect book to read for school while studying the events of WWII, but beofre that I don't think it would have the same powerful effect. 
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed

Posts from This Journal by “!book review” Tag

orangerfulorangerful on May 29th, 2016 04:28 am (UTC)
Aw, sorry you didn't like it! I'm sure all the hype didn't help, sometimes that hurts a book more than anything else.

It definitely has a unique style of writing, and Julie really is an unreliable narrator since she really doesn't want to tell the Nazis anything and she is making most of the story up as she goes, mixing truth with lies, trying to buy time and leak some clues to anyone who finds her writings later. Really great analysis here of the writing and why Queenie writes in third person.

Ery-chanerychan86 on May 29th, 2016 02:24 pm (UTC)
That's a very interesting analysis, thank you for sharing it with me, it definitely explains some of the author's choices, but it makes me feel like she tried too hard... Wein wanted to create this interaction with the reader and she wanted to get that finale, with Julie's mother receiving all the papers to be able to have some closure and know her daughter was an amazing human being not just a fantastic soldier. That's how I felt about her at the end. I started the book being disappointed by the girl and I finished thinking very highly of her and - yes - mostly because of the technique the Wein used.

That is why I think High Schoolers should read it. I don't know exactly how school works in America... I studied in Italy, and in Elementary School (5 years) Middle School (3 years) and High School (5 years) monthly we had to read 1 to 3 books. The Literature Teacher was giving us a list, she was also the History teacher usually, so she was giving us books also related to the historical period we were studying about, and I think this would be a great book to read while studying WWII.

I still think when Wein wrote the novel she had the last pages already ready in her mind and - sometimes - that can create a problem with the creation of the book itself. The chaos in the narrative was needed because both of the girls were under a lot of pressure, but even the fact that I understand why she wrote it this way, doesn't help me sailing through that chaos... Now that I finish it I can see its value, but in the middle of it I just felt lost!

Aw, sorry you didn't like it! I'm sure all the hype didn't help, sometimes that hurts a book more than anything else.
It's okay... I think the book gave me something anyway. It made me - once again - proud to be a woman. I think the idea of telling the story of two girls was extremely powerful.
orangerfulorangerful on May 29th, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC)
It does show up on a lot of 'Recommended' lists but it is one of those titles I have debated with what age can really get the story. I mean, like we have discussed, it is a very complex narrative, kind of advanced, so you have to find a reader mature enough to understand the situation, the storytelling devices and some pretty high level vocabulary.

Sadly, very few of the high school assigned reading lists include anything modern. But as a librarian, I am constantly wandering the stacks and finding teens looking for books to read. :)

Speaking of books with strong women that sometimes are hit or miss, if you end up in the mood for a ridiculous, over the top satire of women and popular culture, try 'Beauty Queens' by Libba Bray. And if you like listening to books, the audio is HILARIOUS.
Ery-chanerychan86 on May 29th, 2016 03:54 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely check it out! Thanks :D

Sadly, very few of the high school assigned reading lists include anything modern. But as a librarian, I am constantly wandering the stacks and finding teens looking for books to read. :)
I had a very good teacher who was offering us a wider range. He didn't use the school list but his own and there were vey good titles in there. He was the kind of teacher who didn't follow the program... We spent a lot of time on the Romans basically skipping anything before that (since we already studied the greeks in Elementary and Middle School) and he made us watch a lot of movies that were't part of the program.

My Exit Papers on my last year (my "thesis of higher schools" that's what they call it) were about Women and their impact in History and Technology... I was studying Computer Science and I was the only girl in my class since Computer Programming wasn't something for "girls" according to most of my teachers, so I would have enjoyed this book back then (still I would have hated the narrative xD)
orangerful: bsg well behaved // orangerfulorangerful on May 29th, 2016 04:02 pm (UTC)
I have a whole long rant about the state of the American school system I could type up right now but I won't. Short version: I don't know how teachers can stand it and I'm not surprised there is a shortage of teachers because the education system has become less about teaching and more about the statistics so kids are constantly given standardized tests to grade the school system, so the teachers are forced to teach the test, leaving all the fun out.

This is a relatively new thing, the "no child left behind" act changed everything so I was out of there by the time that happened. I had some fantastic teachers and they taught me to love reading and history and such. But when I hear people talk today, it sounds like it is a lot harder for teachers to really bring any excitement to their classrooms with so many boundaries set up and the emphasis on making sure the school does well on the tests so they get more funding (which of course makes no sense because usually the kids from good neighborhoods with involved parents do the best so those schools keep getting tons of money and the schools in poorer areas just get worse and .... UGH!)
Ery-chan: Carachter: Hannah (SDoaCG)erychan86 on May 29th, 2016 06:14 pm (UTC)
Luckily in Italy the system is still the old one (for as much as I know) 5 days of written and oral tests at the end of Elementary, Middle and High School... Daily oral tests and weekly written tests made by the professor for that specific class... but I guess it's just a matter of time.

I grew up envying American kids... I saw them on TV having the greatest schools and the most awesome teachers... the proms... the clubs... Everything so beautiful... but I guess it was just fiction or at least most of it... Now tat I live in America and I know my future is here I'm a little bit scared. Two things worry me: hospitals and schools. So funny that my favorite TV show was House!
orangerfulorangerful on June 1st, 2016 01:22 am (UTC)
LOL oh gawd, the TV shows had high school so wrong - or, I guess it was just so California. Kids were always wandering off campus on the TV shows, going to get lunch or just meandering around. My high school was nothing like that, heck it barely had windows (though it was built on an Army base so that might have been part of that...old building, used to be a fall out shelter LOL)

It's funny when we are kids and we watch those shows and think "oh wow, I can't wait to grow up" and then as adults we are like "THIS IS RIDICULOUS!"

I made the mistake of mentioning 'House' to one of my Doctor friends once and she almost flew into a rage, rambling about how he would have been fired day 1. LOL.
Ery-chan: David Tennant (Photoshoot)erychan86 on June 1st, 2016 02:29 am (UTC)
Ahaha I know what you mean... It's like when you watch a movie set in Italy and there's always people wondering around in Vespas without an helmet saying "ciao" and being super cool... Somo King cigarettes sitting in a caffee... All the cities look so old and glorious... Then you get there and it's all but that! I was born and raised in Genova - a beautiful town by the sea with mountains rising behind our backs - and I've been around a lot since my friends live shattered across the peninsula but every time I see a movie that takes place in one of these cities I know it always feels so weird and wrong...

I should know better than trust tv :) still I think I'll be shocked when I'll experience school through my kids and I would be like: "what? am I actually paying that much for THAT?" Because, man... School is expansive in America... We have crappy buildings, used books, awful labs that lacks of everything, no clubs, no cafeteria and we sit on the stairs because there're not banches or anything green to sit on... But at least it's almost free :D

And LOL at House getting fired on day one... Like these videos on YouTube about how movies should have ended XD

Edited at 2016-06-01 02:29 am (UTC)
orangerfulorangerful on June 1st, 2016 03:17 am (UTC)
Do you just mean the taxes used to pay for school or private schools? Either way, yeah, I'm sure it will be shocking LOL.

OH YES I think we saw 'Live Free or Die Hard' which "takes place" in D.C. but they filmed it in Baltimore (which is a good 60 miles away) and it is hilarious to see Bruce Willis supposedly running through D.C. (which you can tell it is D.C. because NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO you can see the Capitol and/or the Washington Monument (yeah, not possible at all) and then Willis jumps on this statue and my brain was like "That statue is in downtown Baltimore, we have driven past it hundreds of times" LOL. Oh Hollywood!

Next you're going to tell me that I can't see the Eiffel tower from every building in Paris ;-)
Ery-chan: David Tennant (Photoshoot)erychan86 on June 1st, 2016 03:39 am (UTC)
Yes... Taxes cover both education and health... Oddly enough public schools are better than private schools, because - in private schools - your Family pays for good grades (you can't fail classes in private schools)

In private schools teachers are less prepared (and more green) and follow the books and the rules, tests are all the same for all the schools and the oral tests are disappearing). A good teacher never goes work on a private school... That's a fact... Universities don't care where you got your degrees, everyone has to pass the same tests to get in. The buildings are cleaner and the labs better equipped but most of the private schools are owned by the church, so that's a consideration (in movies all Italian are religious... We're not... LoL)

LOL the Washington Momunent and the Eiffel Tower must be pretty big then... according to Holliwood... Like in Rome you'd never find la Fontana Di Trevi without a map... Even if you're from there... If you're a tourist you'll fine the love of your life there and you'll always get back there... And do not step in the fountains like we do in movies otherwise they'll call the police!!! Ahahahahaha
orangerfulorangerful on June 1st, 2016 03:47 am (UTC)
Yes, my stepdaughter just finished 8th grade and they had sent her to a private school because they didn't want her in the public city schools. But the private school was a Catholic school and the teachers were AWFUL. So many times she would tell me stories and I would get so angry because you could tell they were old and teaching the way they have always taught and since it is a private school they can get away with it.

I always went to public school and I'm so glad I did because I interacted with lots of different kinds of people. Honestly, I find that in America, most of the private schools...well, it's people avoiding "others". It's kinda messed up but it helps keeps those kids in a bubble away from other races etc. - I mean, this isn't true of all people, some private schools do offer advantages, but a lot of them tend to be just a way for people with a little more money to keep their kids out of public schools...which makes no sense to me but whatever LOL.

This is why I have cats! :P