Study Guide

Code Name Verity Plot Analysis

By Elizabeth Wein

Plot Analysis


Nazi-Occupied France: Not a Nice Place to Visit, and We Definitely Wouldn't Want to Live There

As the novel opens, Julie Beaufort-Stuart, a British spy, has been captured and interrogated by the Nazi Gestapo in Ormaie, France. She begins to write a full report of her wartime activities for her captors in exchange for more time and better treatment. Believing her best friend, Maddie Brodatt, the ATA pilot who dropped her in France, died when the plane she was flying crashed, she launches into the story of their friendship. This sets the scene, letting us know where we are… and possibly where we're headed.

Rising Action

Survivor: World War II Edition

The rest of Part 1, narrated by Julie, describes how Maddie became a pilot and how she came to be friends with Julie and drop her in France. Meanwhile, Julie is designated a "Night and Fog" prisoner, so we know the Nazis plan to make her disappear. Not good.

The biggest complication comes at the beginning of Part 2, when Maddie picks up the narrative and we realize she's not dead. Like Julie, Maddie has to try to stay alive in occupied France, while looking for Julie. Rising Action is all about building suspense and conflict and setting us up for the climax, and things get really complicated really fast when no one is using their real names, loyalties are questionable, and the bodies are piling up.


A Clever Use of Last Words

The climax is unforgettable: it's when Maddie shoots Julie in the head to keep her from being tortured by her Nazi captors any longer. You read that right: Maddie kills her best friend, the best friend who spent the first half of the book writing about their friendship and making us care about it. She shoots Julie so that at least her inevitable death will be quick and on her own terms. Sob.

Falling Action

Nothing Is What It Seems

We guess that isn't really surprising in a spy novel, but Julie left behind some work to do, and it's Maddie's job to finish her best friend's mission, which is exactly what she does. We know that this is the falling action because the task is really just to mop up the mess—it's an awfully big mess, but Maddie is up to the challenge.


There's No Place Like Home

Maddie's been trying to get out of France since she crashed there two months ago, and she finally gets picked up by a plane piloted by Julie's brother, Jamie. Back in England, she goes through some debriefing. The last part of the novel is a letter from Julie's mother asking Maddie to visit. This part of the novel is the tying up of loose ends, where we find out what happens to all the characters and finish their stories.

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