#ATBR2022 – I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Just plugging along with the month!

Thanks to Penguin Teen for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews

I MUST BETRAY YOU – Ruta Sepetys (Released February 1st, 2022)

Book Description:

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian 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.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

A gut-wrenching, startling window into communist Romania and the citizen spy network that devastated a nation, from the number one New York Times best-selling, award-winning author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 5/5 stars

Anybody else get weirded out when they’re reading a historical fiction story and it’s taking place within your life time?

Oh Ruta Sepetys, I now understand why everyone has been raving about your novels. I thought my earpiece was going to become a permanent fixture because I just did NOT want to stop listening to this novel. Y’all, add this to your TBR immediately!

History is probably one of my least favorite subjects, though I hear we are all doomed to repeat it (but whyyyyyyy). However, as I’ve gotten older, that hasn’t changed BUT I do find myself becoming intrigued when reading a hisfic novel as long as it’s not *too* heavy on the history. Feel me? And I cannot express enough how important it is to read the Author’s Notes – and especially so with this book – which shed a lot of light on why the author wrote this from a young adult perspective and how we should really study the true history behind any fictional novel. I sit here now thinking I should deep dive about Romania but I also know me and will just be in awe of this author and how this storyline played out.

Friends, while this story is fictional, what it is based on is absolutely true and NOT THAT LONG AGO. Which, for me, made such a harder impact. My anxiety levels for Cristian were off the charts. I absolutely adored his character, his tenacity, his relationships – especially with his sister. I honestly could go on and on about this book. I felt in the action. I felt for the characters. I was pissed at the government and all the manipulation. A roller coaster of feelings, for sure.

**Runs to add Sepetys backlist books to tbr**

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

How has it taken me this long to finally pick up a book by Ruta Sepetys? I MUST BETRAY YOU is a beautifully written and mesmerizing piece of historical fiction about a time that wasn’t too long ago. I will admit, I didn’t know much about the dictatorship in Romania and it’s incredible the amount of research that went into this book without it reading like a textbook. I think that’s the true sign of a great historical fiction novel – you’re learning about a specific time period or event and it reads like fiction.

I loved having this come from the perspective of Cristian, a seventeen year-old that is dying to live out his dreams under the Communist rule. I think he just came to life and the journey he goes on throughout this book will have you glued to pages until the very end. I became so invested and couldn’t put the book down.

I highly recommend reading the author’s note at the end and looking through the included photos. It sheds some light on the events and I’m really happy it was included! I’ve already ordered some of Sepetys’s backlist and can’t wait for more books from her in the future.

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