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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Code Name Verity, Pyrite Redux

Karyn has been talking about Code Name Verity all year, starting with a teaser in her March 19th post (a post that wasn’t even about books we’d been reading, mind you).

And despite a few other top contenders, this is the one that seems to have all the love, pulling the most votes when we created the Pyrite* shortlist.

In her formal review, Karyn praised the craft of the novel: “The tightness of Wein’s grasp on her plot, her characters — all very impressive. That’s the piece most one-off readers will probably walk away in awe of, from a technical perspective, and it is awe-inspiring.” She also praised the wealth of literary references, which all speak to the plot and themes of CNV, and the thematic depths.

In fact, she concluded by saying “Simply put, best book this year.” Which is a pretty strong statement, especially given how often we tend to hedge our bets around here.

But even Karyn conceded that there are flaws here, and the comments discussion raised a number of them, most pressingly the question of plausibility.

Now that the year is drawing to a close, and the YMA’s are only days away, where do you stand? Is CNV still a serious contenda, for the Pyrite and for the RealPrintz? Or, having sat with the flaws raised by some close readers, has this slipped a bit in your estimation?



*The Pyrite Printz, or Pyrite, is the Someday My Printz Will Come mock Printz deliberation, and should not in any way be confused with YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award, often referred to here as the RealPrintz or Printz. Our predictions, conversations, and speculation about potential RealPrintz contenders and winners reflect only our own best guesses and are not affiliated with YALSA or the RealPrintz committee. You probably figured that out on your own, but we like to make it clear!



  1. Code Name Verity blew me away with its sophistication and the way it delivered its surprises. It’s an interesting one in that I think it would have worked as either a YA or an adult book; either way, it’s a thrilling historical spy novel. If it were to win the Printz, I wonder how that would affect its crossover status (which it does seem to have, at least at the bookstore where I work). Is any attention good attention, or would a YA award put adults off? (Not that we’re its most important readers.)

  2. One of my friends just read this for the first time, and her reactions while reading really reminded me of how incredible this book was on first read. My reading experience is colored by all the rereading I’ve done, and it was nice to have that reminder.

    I’m biased, since this book immediately landed on my “favorite books ever” list, but it was my favorite of the year – from both a literary and emotional perspective – right up with the new Frances Hardinge (alas, not yet released in the US).

  3. CNV was a book that suffered from the hype for me. I didn’t get around to reading it until summer and I’m not terribly careful about avoiding buzz or reviews of books I haven’t read yet, so by the time I got to it, it was already being lauded everywhere as the best book of the year. I found it didn’t quite live up to that hype for me – despite being a book about all sorts of things that I love. I also felt like a heartless person when I didn’t cry the buckets of tears that everyone else did. However, in my head, this IS one of the best books of the year and I keep returning to it. Unique and gripping and beautiful with heartbreaking characters – it deserves recognition.

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