I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys – Our Review
Romania, 1989. On the edge of a free Europe lives seventeen-year-old Cristian, an idealistic young high-school student who dreams of being a writer, of learning English, of being free with his words and thoughts. But this is nation under the brutal Communist rule of Nicolae Ceausescu, governed by impossibly rigid protocols and intimidation, where ordinary citizens are pitted against one another.
Cristian is tripped up by a neighbourhood informant and blackmailed at school by the secret police to become an informer. He is in an impossible situation, his world has come crashing down and to follow his ideals now will spell the imprisonment or torture of his family.
While I Must Betray You is a wonderfully realised fictional story, it accurately reflects the daily deprivations and regime of suspicion and intimidation where one in ten citizens were forced to inform on friends and even family members.
Included in this book are pictures, photos and information about the many interviews Ruta Sepetys did to put the novel together. It was young students like Cristian who ultimately incited the 1989 revolution and overthrew the Ceausescu government. You may notice the cover has a hole in the flag where the communist symbol has been cut out.
Written by Carnegie Medal winner Ruta Sepetys, this is a timely and deeply inspiring read for ages 12 to adult.
Review by Nicole @ Great Escape Books