Book Review : I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

I’m coming back to one of my favorite historical fiction author♡´・ᴗ・`♡

Genre : Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Page : 321 pages
Published :1st February 2022

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?

“Paradise: If communism is Paradise, why do we need barriers, walls, and laws to keep people from escaping?”

I found this book, when I’m no longer an avid reader due to my schedule and life. But well, I guess this book is enough to make me neglect my life and responsibilities for a little while.

I Must Betray You— A historical events of what is happening in Romania in 1989 and Cristian Florescu’s life in the communist regimes.

I’m so ready for another Ruth Sepetys’ story! I remember loving her books back before and I am intrigued with her new book!

It’s been so long since I last join in the crusade of Bookstagram and I feel like I’m left way behind. So when I found this book upon scrolling through my feeds, I squeal and scream for a full minute, calm myself, and went to nearest store to buy the book.

And yes, once the book’s in my possession, there’s no stopping me for reading!

I fall in love immediately with the blurb. This feels like a story I could have high hopes for and I’m more than ready to hurt my poor heart and soul for this book ʕ ಡ ﹏ ಡ ʔ

This story is based on true events upon the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. In this period of times, Romanians lived in fear, taped and supervised. I can’t even imagine what it feels like. And I love how this book discuss this disturbing facts, blending them well through the story.

In 1989, Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, which sounds impossible at the times. Cristian is potrayed as ambitious and smart and I love his characters well. He’s the kind of character that will fight tooth and nail for the one he cares.

Cristian never agrees with how things works in Romania. He’s a brave young man, until one day, he too, being blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer.

This book is a good jump-scare for me. Cristian kept a notebook, full of his thoughts about this regime and the circumstances they have to live with. It feared me, Cristian will ended up death.

Moreover, the snooping. I don’t event want to imagine how it feels like. It’s just horrible.

Cristian often opens up to his grandfather, whom more or less shared the same vision and thoughts with Cristian. This duo dynamic is one of the things you could expect in the book.

I love the spirit Cristian and his grandfather shared, but I can’t help but felt sorry and sad for the ones who had no choice but to live in fear, afraid to instigate unnecessary attention to the family and afraid of bringing harm to people closed to them.

Cristian ended up the same fate. How he got no choice but to act as an informant, betraying those who trust him, for the sake of getting his grandfather medicine.

This book made me thought about a lot of things.

I couldn’t even imagine living in those circumstances and this regime had been going on for twenty five years.

Before this book, I didn’t know anything at all about Romania history and as this is the first dark history I read about Romania, it sadden me.

Back then, people often forced and blackmailed to spied for the sake of saving people they love. This is a story of having no choice but to move forward trying to make the best of it.

I am definitely invested in the story and I love the characters. Upon reading this book, it always give me foreboding feelings as to what’ll happened next. It makes me feel sad and edgy.

But as much as I love the book, I found this book to be not way over the top. I love the book, but that’s it.

However, I’m so grateful for the book and I thank Ruta for bringing and writing this part of history into her books.

“How could we expect others to feel our pain or hear our cries for help when all we could do was whisper?”

Author: Celine

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