Review originally posted here
.Why I Read It:
This book was originally released in the UK in January and since then it has received almost nothing but praise from bloggers everywhere. What really clinched it for me though was that people were claiming this was a book that focused on a female-oriented friendship and it seemed like everyone was crying because the end of the book was so sad. I don't know why, but I LOVE books that made me cry (my top two reads last year were books that made me BAWL); to rip such a visceral and emotional response from me usually means that the book resonated with me in some kind of way. So, anyway, upon hearing all that, I decided that I *needed* to read this and bought it as soon as it arrived at work. Review ahead contains no spoilers; I don't want to ruin this for anybody because it really is better to jump in fresh.
I have to admit, when I first started this book I was a little... underwhelmed. The writing was fantastic, but because of the nature of the story being told (Verity being held prisoner by the Nazis and being forced to confess British secrets) there is a LOT of detail and explaining and it feels like not a whole lot is happening. The very few negative reviews I've read for this book talk about this and it seems to be the biggest deterrent for readers and I can see why. It wasn't nearly enough to make me want to put it down though; like I said, the writing was really good, and I did find it all really fascinating (and I am in awe at the amount of research that must have gone into this), but I wanted to become more emotionally invested.
Thankfully once Verity gets to the meeting between her and Maddie, things start to pick up. I wouldn't say that there's a significant lack of female friendships in YA, but I would claim that these friendships are usually overshadowed and put to the side in favour of romantic relationships. That is NOT the case here; Verity and Maddie are front-and-center from beginning to end and I loved this book for that. These two were awesome together and have so many moments that were touching and made me yearn to have a friendship like these two do.
The second-half of the novel was definitely more readable in my opinion. It brings together everything from the first half of the novel and compacts into one giant emotional punch. I was slightly disappointed that I didn't cry big fat heaping sobs like I was expecting to, but I *did* cry. And even when I wasn't crying, there were still so many moments that just GOT to me and made Feel All the Things. The second half completely redeemed any misgivings I had with the sometimes descriptive first-half and made me fall in love.Final Verdict:
If the plot feels slow-moving and overly descriptive at first, I beg you to persevere and keep reading. I was underwhelmed with the first quarter of this book, but when things pick up, they REALLY pick up; especially the second-half of the novel. The ending couldn't have been more perfect, and while I didn't have a big fat cry like I was expecting to, it was all still really gut-wrenching and packed an emotional punch. It brought everything together in an amazing way and redeemed any misgivings I initially had. I also have to commend the amount of research that went into this novel; the author's note at the end of the book was also fantastic in explaining what details were historically accurate or exaggerated for the sake of the story, but overall, it was so well done. This is guaranteed to end up on my list of favourite books for this year and I highly recommend it.