Black Dove, White Raven | Elizabeth Wein | Book Review

Code Name Verity is one of my favorite young adult historical fiction books so I was really excited when I first acquired Black Dove White Raven. Unfortunately, as often happens, I didn’t read it right away and it just sat on my book shelf. Flash forward to 2021 when I was determined to catch up on older books so I finally picked it up. And I’m so glad I did!

The thing with Elizabeth Wein is that she focuses on a time when history which often has had limited exposure. In Black Dove White Raven she transports the reader to life before WWII. A life where people are making a living by doing dangerous air shows and having to fight against oppression and racism. It follows the main characters Emilia Menotti and Teo Gedeyon as they move to Ethiopia with Emilia’s mother, Rhoda. They move to Ethiopia so that Teo will no longer be shunned for the color of his skin. Unfortunately, he winds up being shunned for other things through out his young life but, Emilia sticks with him and supports him through it all.

Emilia and Teo are not blood family but, they are family. They recognize that their skin does not match each other. They recognize that they are going through different experiences but, they are there for each other. They stick together, understand each other, and fight for each other. They have a language of their own and it was so beautiful to read about. I felt myself pulling for both of these characters and wanting them to find their truths and succeed.

I really enjoyed the way that Black Dove, White Raven is written. It flips between Emilia’s and Teo’s points of view, and uses journal entries, flight entries, school essays, and fictional adventures to tell their story. There was an easy flow to it but, I was kept on the edge of my seat as the prospect of war and danger increased around them. It really was beautifully written and pulled me right in with each word.

Elizabeth Wein did not disappoint me with Black Dove, White Raven. As a reader, I loved the way she uses her words to break down the cultural barriers of the time. She addresses the racism and sexism which the characters are experiencing without beating me over the head with it. She also opens my eyes to a period of history that I am not as familiar with but, would love to learn more about. If you are a reader who enjoys learning about more unknown periods in history with diverse beautiful characters, I recommend that you check this one out!

Rating: 4 Stars

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