Posts Tagged ‘unreliable narrator’

Code Name Verity

September 26, 2012

Title:  Code Name Verity

Author:  Elizabeth Wein

Publication Date:  2012

Number of Pages:  343

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Geographical Setting:  Great Britain and France

Time Period:  World War II (1943)

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: 

An unnamed young woman, imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France during WWII, agrees to turn over information about the British War Effort.  Her confession weaves together characters and conditions of her current situation with stories from her past, describing her friendship with Maddie, the pilot of the plane who flew them to France and crashed.  Though Code Name Verity is a suspenseful spy novel, above all else it is a story of friendship and survival, courageous and heart breaking.

Subject Headings:  World War, 1939-1945; Great Britain History; France History German occupation; Insurgency; Nazis; Women air pilots; Espionage; Friendship.

Appeal:  character-driven; suspenseful; compelling; intense; moving; thought-provoking; cross-class friendship; courage; survival; details about period aircraft and flying; women’s involvement in the war effort; stylistically complex; intricately plotted; unreliable narrator; multiple narrators; diary fiction; flashbacks; closed ending; war story; spy story; World War II story.

3 appeal terms that best describe this work:  compelling, character-driven, friendship

Similar/Relevant Authors and Works (Fiction):

Tamar by Mal Peet

After the death of her beloved grandfather, Tamar inherits a box containing clues and coded messages, leading her on a journey to uncover the truth about her family and its secrets, stemming from involvement with resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II.  Tamar and Code Name Verity are both compelling, suspenseful, intricately plotted stories involving secrets and betrayal, set during World War II.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Death narrates the story of Liesl, a young girl living with foster parents in Nazi Germany, for whom stealing books, with their stories and later her own, is a way to survive the horrors of war.  Readers who enjoy moving, character-driven, stylistically complex stories may enjoy The Book Thief and Code Name Verity; both books also involve secrets and survival during World War II.

Yossel by Joe Kubert

A graphic novel set in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, Yossel portrays the harsh life and conditions in Nazi-occupied Poland, told by a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy through his sketches.  Readers interested in exploring more stories about World War II and the Resistance movement that are moving, thought-provoking, and character-driven may be interested in this book.

Similar/Relevant Authors and Works (Nonfiction):

A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm

After WWII, Vera Atkins, a high-ranking female officer of a British Intelligence unit, investigated the fates of agents who had disappeared during the war.  Readers interested in learning more about the British Intelligence unit and its involvement with the resistance movement during WWII may enjoy this book, as could readers interested in reading about the involvement of women in the war effort.

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

Antonina Zabinski and her husband, Jan, helped many Jews escape the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII by hiding them in their home and in the empty cages of the Warsaw Zoo, which had been heavily damaged during a Nazi bombing of the city.  Readers interested in finding more stories about courage and survival during WWII may be interested in this dramatic tale of compassion and heroism in the midst of war.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

In this graphic novel memoir, the author/illustrator portrays his father’s experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland and imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp.  Readers looking for intense, moving and thought-provoking stories about survival during WWII may be interested in discovering this title.

Name:  Nicole

House of Leaves

March 31, 2010

Author:  Mark Z. Danielewski

Title: House of Leaves

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2000

Number of Pages: 709

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles/Virginia countryside

Time Period:  Modern day

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  Late one night, Johnny Truant gets a call from his friend, Lude.  Lude invites Johnny to explore his recently deceased neighbor Zampano’s apartment.  While looking through his things, Johnny finds a trunk filled with notes and manuscript regarding a documentary called The Navidson Record. The film is about a family who has recently moved into a home in the Virginia countryside.  They begin to notice strange changes in the house such as the interior measurements exceeding the exterior measurements and a hallway that should lead into their backyard but doesn’t.  As Johnny begins to piece together Zampano’s notes, he is plagued by nightmares and panic attacks and begins to lose his grip on reality.

Subject Headings:  Horror stories, psychological suspense stories, transformations- personal, paranormal phenomena, documentary films, supernatural

Appeal:  compelling, engrossing, detailed, intriguing, complex, layered, chilling, dangerous, dark, investigative, multiple plot lines, psychological, claustrophobic, unknowing, unreliable narrator

3 terms that best describe this book:  Complex, haunting, mysterious

Similar Works/Authors:


The Black Hope Horror: the True Story of a Haunting by Ben Williams – When the Williams family moves into a house in a quiet Texas suburb, they are terrified to learn that their home was built on an old graveyard.  They begin to encounter strange occurrences, infestations of insects, and even death.

The Amityville Horror Conspiracy by Stephen Kaplan- Kaplan investigates the bizarre happenings at the Amityville house where a family fled for their lives after experiencing terrifying events.  Were these events real or is it all part of a hoax?

The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern Day Demon Possession and Exorcism by David M. Kiely and Christina McKenna- The authors present ten true stories involving exorcism, haunted houses, and demon possession.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam – Nick Mason must team up with a disturbed man in order to rescue his sister from a haunted house.  The two soon learn that the house has a dark and chilling past.

An American Haunting by Scott A. Johnson – Gabriel Rosewood decides to move his family into an old house in Texas.  When peculiar things begin to happen, he worries that their lives are in danger.

Turn of the Screw by Henry James- When a governess is hired to care for two orphans, she is soon haunted by the ghosts of evil servants who once inhabited the house.

Name:  Shannon Duffy