Wein, Elizabeth. Enigma Game, The. Fiction. Little, 11/2020. 448pp. $18.99. 978-1-338-01258-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 8-12.
This dramatic and intense YA historical novel is set in the early days of WW II and returns to the Code Name Verity (2012) universe. Set at Royal Air Force base Windyedge in Scotland, four characters are brought together by the secret delivery of an Enigma decoding machine by a German pilot. Returning characters Flight-Lieutenant Jamie Beaufort-Scott and Traveller Ellen McEwen, now a driver for the RAF, are joined by new characters: Louisa Adair, a recently orphaned biracial (white and Jamaican) 15-year-old, and elderly German-born Jane Warner. All characters apart from Louisa are white. Louisa and Jane crack codes, allowing Jamie and his squadron to sink some U-boats—but what happens when the Germans realize someone is decoding their communications? This is a confident and fluid novel with slow-building excitement and adventure leading up to a big emotional wallop at the end. The well-rounded characters all thoughtfully face challenges of their own, whether it is because of their age, skin color, or gender, and they all work out how they can individually make a difference. The author’s excellent and extensive Declaration of Accountability gives the real-life context to her story and characters, and a further reading list is included. Review based on an ARC.
Hayley Beale, San Francisco University High School