Ruta Sepetys, "I Must Betray You" (Philomel Books, 2022)


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Ruta Sepetys is an acclaimed “crossover” author (read by both young people and adults) of historical novels. In her latest novel I Must Betray You (Philomel Books, 2022) published by Philomel Books in 2022, she dramatizes the last days of the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania in 1989. A 17-year-old boy, Cristian Florescu, feels compelled to become one of the legions of civilian informants in the service of the regime to help his family. Young Cristian becomes involved in the violent revolution against the regime in December 1989. Sepetys’ story reveals the real tensions among Romanians in this closed society and the angst that drove so many ordinary people to risk their lives in revolting against the totalitarian regime. Sepetys interviewed many who lived through the last days the Ceausescu regime in order to recreate, through the use of historically informed imagination, the inherent suspicion and fear of Romanians of not only their government but also their fellow countrymen.

Ian J. Drake is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence, Montclair State University.

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