Monday, May 23, 2022

Book Review: I Must Betray You, by Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray you by Ruta Sepetys book cover and review
Sepetys usually writes about little-known aspects of war or politics, and I Must Betray You is no exception.

It's hard to read. The political situation in Romania in the 1970s and 1980s was so horrific -- and pretty much hidden from the rest of the world. Nicolae CeauČ™escu was a Communist dictator that ran the most isolated and oppressive nation in the world. People always stood in line for very little food. Coats were worn inside since little heat was available. Students were required to attend school six days a week. But the biggest issue was the fear.  People were afraid of each other. There was no place to talk, no one to trust. Not even within families.

Christian Florescu is a seventeen-year-old high school student who has been turned in to the secret police for supposed illegal activities, and they bribe him to become an informer. He's trying to navigate his teen years with the usual romantic endeavors. He wants to become a writer, but that seems impossible at this time.

The story starts in October of 1989, and if you know history (which I looked up), Ceaușescu is executed in December of 1989. Christian becomes involved in the resistance and is put in grave danger.

I Must Betray You is compulsively readable. The chapters are short and because of the conditions, the tension is constant. As usual, there are detailed notes at the end and an extensive bibliography. This was an eye-opening book for me, and teens, as well as adults, should consider I Must Betray You. 

Published by Philomel, February 1, 2022
Copy obtained from the library
336 pages

Rating: 5/5

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  1. I have really appreciated every book I've read by this author. I am not reading as much YA lit as I used to but this one will go onto my TBR. Wonderful review.

  2. I am with you in saying this book is really well done. Sepetys' books are always good and so interesting. I love her notes at the end.


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