I Must Betray You

Ruta Sepetys

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Hi, just another Sepetys read that I devoured in 2 days leaving me completely solemn and heartbroken. Sepetys knows how to awaken and change your heart. Her novels will remind you that so much hardship existed — and still does — outside of our little lives full of freedom and choice.

I Must Betray You was intensely eyeopening. It was suspenseful in every way possible. Communism and its toll on the people came into such light through this novel for me and it just made my heart sink. Freedom and choice should have always been everyone’s birthright and it’s always so heart wrenching for me to read novels that depict such opposition to that birthright.

This novel beautifully demonstrated Romania’s fear and frightened souls — their struggle to speak up against regime. But it also detailed the empowerment and hope that raged within the younger demographic — the students and children who thought, “there has to be something better than this.” Cristian was brilliant and brave; what everyone needed — he was that hope. I cheered for him the whole way through.

Sepetys knows how to make you think. She knows how to make you experience something outside of and bigger than yourself and what you think you know. I learn with every page turn and I’m so grateful for that. And while this is a work of historical fiction, the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu and his indoctrinated reign of communism was very real; very brutal; and very frightening — for 30 years.

I urge everyone to read any of Sepetys novels and to practice thinking outside of yourself. It’s a good reminder to learn about and understand those who still desperately fight for what we have and what they’ve always deserved.

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