Code Name Badass: The True Story of Virginia Hall

S. & S./Atheneum. Sept. 2021. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534431874.
Gr 7 Up–Bringing together rigorous research and a vibrant writing style, Demetrios shares the trials and triumphs of a little-known WWII hero Virginia (Dindy) Hall. With relevant references to today’s culture of espionage (clandestine operations, misinformation), the author does not hide her dissatisfaction with male-dominated politics, nor her endearing and genuine admiration for Hall. Demetrios notes the privileges the subject had, and how money, travel, and education supported her future efforts as a spy. She creates a solidarity rooted in feminism (“girls are pretty good at watching our backs”) and affectionately breaks the fourth wall (“Personally, I think Dindy would have enjoyed The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”) to engage teens to keep reading. It’s a creative liberty, reminiscent of Jason Reynolds’s Stamped. The flippant tone is a tribute to Hall’s unconventional life: it’s breezy but not shallow, informative but lighthearted. This is a fun, illuminating read.
VERDICT A delightful account of an epic spy: recommended for most libraries, especially those building a “shero” collection.

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