Book Review: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
"How could we expect others to feel our pain or hear our cries for help when all we could do was whisper"
This book killed me. It is a gripping tale of the Romanian revolution that nobody really knows about. I didn't get taught this in school, news never talk about this horrible Communist regime and I am so glad Ruta decided to pick up a story and write about the lives of all these people and gave them a voice.
"I Must Betray You" tells the story of Cristian, our main character, under the midst of the Communist regime that took over Romania in the 1980s. The crumbling city is the setting for this harrowing story of betrayal and trust issues. During one of his school days Cristian gets approached and blackmailed by one of the secret police agents. He starts having to report to them everything that goes on in the house of the American diplomat, whom his mother cleans houses for. However, he starts a friendship with the son and is not in agreement with the dictatorship so he decides he wants to use this opportunity as a way to fight for his country.
The story is told in such an omnipresent tone that I was able to read it super fast. It is intriguing and you never really know who is betraying Cristian. During this point in the regime, everyone around you could be an informant to the police. This is the way that people would get more food and medicine for their families, so they would have to go against their values. This is how the government controlled all the people through fear and distrust.
Through his betrayal of his values, Cristian also meets Liliana and they start falling in love. This was a great sub story that never took away from the real plot of revolution. However, all it did was add to the already beautiful story and showcase the reader how young adults were falling in love in the midst of all the distrust and all the issues that it would cause families, lovers and friends.
When the revolution begins and Cristian finds himself in the middle of it, tears came to my eyes. Tears came to my eyes because all I could think about was my country - Venezuela, and how many times I had found myself filled with pride over my flag's colors in a peaceful demostrations. Freedom is worth fighting for and this book really summed it up in such a beautiful way.
The ending left me speechless and after reading the author's note it made all the sense in the world. The way she writes - its meaningful.
Overall rating: 4 stars