I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys | Audiobook Review

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I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys | Audiobook ReviewI Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini
Length: 7 Hours 9 Minutes
Also by this author: Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, Salt to the Sea, Between Shades of Gray
Published by Penguin on March 6, 2022
Genres: JUVENILE FICTION / General, Young Adult Fiction / Family / General, Young Adult Fiction / Historical / Europe
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Publisher
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A #1 New York Times and National Bestseller!

A gut-wrenching, startling historical thriller about communist Romania and the citizen spy network that devastated a nation, from the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray.

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?

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys is back with a historical thriller that examines the little-known history of a nation defined by silence, pain, and the unwavering conviction of the human spirit.

Praise for I Must Betray You:

"As educational as it is thrilling...[T]he power of I Must Betray You [is] it doesn't just describe the destabilizing effects of being spied on; it will make you experience them too." -New York Times Book Review

"A historical heart-pounder...Ms. Sepetys, across her body of work, has become a tribune of the unsung historical moment and a humane voice of moral clarity." -The Wall Street Journal

* "Sepetys brilliantly blends a staggering amount of research with heart, craft, and insight in a way very few writers can. Compulsively readable and brilliant." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Sepetys once again masterfully portrays a dark, forgotten corner of history." -Booklist, starred review

* "Sepetys's latest book maintains the caliber readers have come to expect from an author whose focus on hidden histories has made her a YA powerhouse of historical fiction...Sepetys is a formidable writer, and her stories declare the need to write about global issues of social injustice. For that reason and her attention to detail, this is a must-read." -School Library Journal, starred review

* "Cristian's tense first-person narrative foregrounds stark historical realities, unflinchingly confronting deprivations and cruelty while balancing them with perseverance and hope as Romania hurtles toward political change." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Sepetys keeps readers riveted to this vivid, heartbreaking and compelling novel, locked into every meticulously researched detail. I Must Betray You demands a full investment from its audience--through poetic writing, sympathetic characters, revolutionary plot and pacing, it grips the heart and soul and leaves one breathless." -Shelf Awareness, starred review

"A master class in pacing and atmosphere." -BookPage

Why Did I Listen To I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys?

Ruta Sepetys is one of my MUST READ authors. I love historical fiction and her books are just top tier in the YA historical fiction genre. I Must Betray You is another book from Sepetys set during a historical era that I really don’t know a lot about. This was my first time reading a Sepetys book via audio rather than straight up reading it. Overall, it was a good experience — one that I might repeat on a re-read of Sepetys’s other books to see if they hold up.

What’s The Story Here?

Set in Romania 1989, I Must Betray You is about Cristian Florescu, a seventeen year old boy who wants to be a writer someday. Only, that isn’t possible in Romania under Nicolae Ceaușescu who is a dictator. The general atmosphere is one where people inform on each other just to survive and no one trusts anyone. Cristian gets forced into informing on his friend, the son of an American diplomat when he is caught with an American stamp. He is told that if he provides information he will receive medicine for his ailing grandfather. Honestly, life is really bleak at this point. He finds himself writing about what life is like, but this could also really backfire on him. Revolution is also in the air.

What Did I Think Of I Must Betray You?

Well, I feel like I have more context for the Ceausescu era in Romanian history. That is, any context because I do not really remember learning about this in any of my history classes. I think probably one of the best things about Sepetys is that she is bringing to light historical events that aren’t covered extensively in American schools. This book was moving with a real conflict with Cristian’s decisions to be made. There is one part that I felt was hard to read involving a stroller and stray dogs. I wish I could have fast forwarded that part. OH and also, there’s definitely a connection to The Fountains Of Silence in I Must Betray You.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook of I Must Betray You is narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Ballerini is a new to me audiobook narrator. I thought his narration came across with a note of gravitas. He made the story feel believable. This book was not a struggle to listen to. I found it very moving and emotionally tough in certain spots. The audiobook is 7 hours and 9 minutes — so a quick way to learn a little bit about recent history.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.