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I Must Betray You (2022)

by Ruta Sepetys

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7505129,477 (4.37)27
In a country governed by isolation, fear, and a tyrannical dictator, seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer, but he decides to use his position to try to outwit his handler, undermine the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. Includes author's note.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
Amazing! Once again Sepetys does not disappoint. I would highly recommend her books to teens and adults looking for historical fiction.

This novel is set in the months leading up to the violent civil unrest in Romania during December 1989. The Romanian revolution started in the city of Timisoara and soon spread throughout the country, ultimately culminating in the trial and execution of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena.

We are introduced to Cristian Florescu, and his family and friends and get a horrifying glimpse of life in Communist Romania. The population is subjected to constant surveillance, cruelty, punishment, and starvation to prop up the personality cult and power of Ceausescu. Told from Cristian’s point of view, the novel has energy and suspense. ( )
  AnnesLibrary | Jan 28, 2024 |
Excellent, gripping read. A heartwrenching, eye opening work of historical fiction. It inspired me to learn more about Romania and the Ceausescu dictatorship. ( )
  sara.nk | Jan 3, 2024 |
Set in 1989 Romania which is a communist country with a tyrant leader. The story centers around 17 year old Cristian who dreams of becoming a writer. Cristian (and others) is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.
  Carmen109 | Jul 14, 2023 |
Ruta Sepetys is a master of the historical fiction genre. Yes the amount of research that she does on a particular topic is impressive. However, it is the way she brings my attention to time periods in history I know nothing about. "I Must Betray You" takes place in December, 1989 (two months before I was born) in Communist Romania. Sure, I have heard about the USSR, the Soviet Union, and the utter upheaval that was Eastern Europe. But I really had no idea of the horrors, the lack of freedom, the tyranny, that Romanians lived under during this time. (I also had no idea that Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci defected)

Christian has been caught with Western contraband and now, he is tasked with spying on the American teenager he knows. His lies become convoluted and complicated; he quickly does not know who to trust. Who betrayed him in the first place? Will he offer up the Americans to the "bad guys?" What about his dying Banu, his grandfather, who listens clandestinely to a radio about freedom and Western ideals?

I was immediately drawn into the story, told from Christian's point of view. Just like other books of Ruta's, I wanted to learn more about the history. I felt connection to the characters and felt their pain. Ruta is also a masterful storyteller; you couldn't help but FEEL the anguish, the struggles, the yearning to no longer be in a country controlled by rationing and censorship. I'm sorry but for anyone who thinks communism actually works....you need to read this book.

Once again, Ruta Sepetys remains my top author to recommend in the YA realm. Clean reads. Exceptional storytelling. ( )
  msgabbythelibrarian | Jun 11, 2023 |
I appreciate the Sepetys’ intent to inform on the brutal regime of Nicholai Ceausescu. This book is impressively well researched. The author has taken great care to chronicle the real events of 1989 in Bucharest and beyond. For me the Young Adult audience focus was a distraction. However, I would highly recommend this to middle school and up. It is an important recounting of the realities of a cruel dictatorship and particularly of the loss of trust that is part of the takeover of an authoritarian government. ( )
  beebeereads | May 20, 2023 |
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In a country governed by isolation, fear, and a tyrannical dictator, seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer, but he decides to use his position to try to outwit his handler, undermine the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. Includes author's note.

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