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Publisher's Summary

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.

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.

©2022 Ruta Sepetys (P)2022 Listening Library

What listeners say about I Must Betray You

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Brilliant, dramatic, heartbreaking

This audiobook is a masterpiece! I started listening late at night, slept for two hours, and after that continued to listen until the end.

I am Romanian, I have lived in Romania for exactly 38 years and 10 days before moving to Norway. Although I was just six years and a half when the events of December 1989 took place, I remember them vividly. I have been blessed, or cursed, depending on who you are asking, with a very good memory, so I clearly remember where I was when everything happened.

I was at my grandma’s home in the countryside and when they showed on TV that things got out of hand, me and some other boys from the village went to the national road and we saw tanks and other military vehicles rolling, filled with soldiers, armed to the teeth and prepare for battle.

My wife, Alina, was born on the 20th of December and her mother told us that while she was in the maternity, they were scared half to death by the sound of firearms and by the reports doctors brought in.

New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys has managed to awaken in me feelings, thoughts and memories that I thought long forgotten. I Must Betray You is written with passion, attention to details and most of all, respect towards the Romanian people.

Our family was fortunate enough, to my knowledge, to have never been in the sights of the security service, but I’m sure that everything in this historical novel was extensively researched and documented.

The story is told in first person by Cristian, a 17-year-old boy forced to become an informer, a rat, by the secret police. Throughout the story we see him struggling with guilt and with paranoia.

Besides that, we also have a beautifully written love story that is absolutely uplifting. From the mysterious beginnings, right up to the heart-stopping finale, I Must Betray You is a roller coaster of events and emotions that I will never forget.

As a Romanian, I can’t help but sing the praise of multiple award-winning actor and narrator Edoardo Ballerini and his perfect performance for this fantastic audiobook. Mr. Ballerini does a fantastic job with all the characters, he reads beautifully, he pronounces all the words in Romanian flawlessly and he enriches and elevates the narrative experience with talent and emotion.

Even author Ruta Sepetys took time to record the afterward in her own voice, which I always appreciate. I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys is a unique work of historical fiction that will remain with me my entire life.

Both the author and the narrator are absolutely amazing and I really can’t find words good enough to express my feelings right now.

Pick up this audiobook and listen to it, you will not be able to stop until the end!
I hope that you found this review interesting and will consider leaving a helpful vote below. Thank you! Take care, stay safe, and don't forget, always listen with your heart.

10 people found this helpful

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great story

Wow! What a great story to listen to! I am far from being a "young adult" still, but I was very impressed with the story. I am now going to read others books by her. Thank you to the author. You must have done hours and hours and hours of research to find out what went on. The narrator was also excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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Proud Romanian

I rarely write reviews but I had to for this book because it was amazing. I loved the character development and the fact that the book kept me on suspense so many times. My mother’s family escaped Romania in 1989 to come to the US and my father was able to leave to be with my mother after the Revolution. I have heard many stories from my grandparents and parents about what they had to go through and this book really caused me to have a deeper appreciation for my Romanian heritage. Thank you so much Ruta for writing this book!

I will definitely buy the physical copy of this book as well!

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

Ruta Ruta Ruta. I love her work as a writer. I always learn something and she does such a great job with research. She is the voice of our unknown histories. Great book. Loved the epilogue.

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Excellent Story

This is the second book I have listened by Ruta Sepetys, I am not a young adult, I highly recommend this book to anyone. The story is brilliant, compelling and beautifully told. Edoardo Ballerini is an excellent narrator. I Must Betray You has left me wanting to learn more about the history of Romania and the stories of the Romanian people.

2 people found this helpful

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Suspenseful

Sepetys does a great job of helping you feel the tension of the Romanian people. The uncertainty of everything in their lives and the injustices are boldly illustrated.

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Fascinating Novel

I could not set this book down. I finished it in 1 weekend. I am an American who lived in Romania from 2000-2002. What an amazing group of people.

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Outstanding

Just loved it. Great story and learned how bad it was during that time in Romania. Also , the narration was very good. He was able to convey the emotion of the characters

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As always…

Ruta Sepetys has done it again!! A five star book! Centering on the revolution in Romania. Wow, her characters become so real and I become so invested in their lives AND the twist was so good!!! On top of that I learn more about a little known event in history through her books.

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Eye Opener

This book opened my eyes to the horrors of what went on in Romania. It was a book I couldn’t quit reading and I can’t stop thinking about.