I ask everyone to please read the historical fiction novel, I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys!! In the climate of today’s world, this story is so compelling! (With Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the plot was so relevant to today.) The setting is communist Romania in 1989 – the year of a revolution overthrowing the dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu. My knowledge of Romania was very limited . . . I knew of the gymnast, Nadia Comăneci and her defection and I knew that Romania was under communist rule. This book showed what a terrifying place Romania was for its citizens and how the people had to question friendships and family ties that we usually take for granted.
Cristian Florescu is a 17-year old high school student who dreams of being a writer and a philosopher. But in his country of Romania, exploring ideas is dangerous. There are ‘informers’ everywhere and government spies are always listening and watching. Cristian dreams of freedom and wonders why his country is so isolated. His family’s story is heartbreaking and very tragic but Sepetys also emphasizes their courage, hope and resilience.
I Must Betray You has an intense, realistic portrayal of the evil regime of the Ceaușescu’s. (There is violence and torture in some instances.) Chapters are short and the story is so well-written! I really liked the photographs that are included at the end. This was another book that made me want to learn more about this period in history!