I love a good unreliable narrator, and Wein really pulls out all the stops here. Add to it a richly textured setting whose physical and emotional details feel more solid than most history books, and you've got a winner. And the girls' friendship is another high note; I've rarely seen platonic love so fiercely drawn.
The only down note for me was the ending, which I thought was a little pat. The grand melodrama of one friend forced to deliver the mercy blow to the other--well, it would have worked for me as a teen, which I guess is the intended age for the book. But as an adult reader, it just felt too contrived. War is random, scary, brutal. The rest of the book makes it clear. The scene on the bridge would have been a better thematic fit if Verity had fallen in the general haze of bullets, and neither Maddie nor anyone else knew (or was willing to admit they knew) who shot her.
I could have done without Damask being Verity's great-aunt, too.
But those are criticisms of a few pages of an overall taut and absorbing novel.