One of the reasons I like attending SF conventions is that there are always smart literate people who will tell you about the books they’re enjoying. At Convergence, I attended a couple of panels that featured Amal El-Mohtar, and she kept raving about this one book that wasn’t even science fiction or fantasy — but she brought it up a couple of times as an excellent example of a story of friendship, and so I opened up my iPad, and looked on Amazon, and there it was for only $1.99, so I thought, “what the heck…” and bought it, and then I read it, and…holy crap, now I’m going to have to read everything El-Mohtar ever recommends. There goes my life.
And really, the rest of you need to go read Code Name Verity like, right now. Or you can tell me you already read it ages ago, and what took me so long? It’s just amazing.
It’s a World War II story about a pilot and a spy aiding the French Resistance, when the spy is captured by the Gestapo and the pilot is stranded behind enemy lines. It’s all about heroism and tragedy, and it’s a love story at the same time, and I swear there were multiple moments when I felt like breaking down and blubbing over it (but as a manly man, of course, I choked it all back and stared stoically at a wall until I’d composed myself). Although I’m still at risk of breaking down if anyone says “KISS ME HARDY” to me.
And all the central characters are women — fiercely courageous women. You’ll come away from it with a different idea of what it means to be brave.
Now I learn that there’s also another novel by the same author, Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire. I may have to wait a while before cracking that one, though, I don’t know how well my fragile masculine veneer can hold up under another blast.