Ruta Sepetys has made a career of sharing unshared stories from totalitarian regimes. This time she focuses on the Romanian revolution that lead to the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu. In this book, seventeen year old Christian is contacted by the secret police and told that he must become an informer. He must spy on his friends, family, neighbors and turn in the information to the government or face prosecution. His crime? Accepting a dollar bill in exchange for some stamps.
Liz Lightly has spent her entire life in the Indiana town in which her mom also grew up. Liz and her brother live with their grand parents because their mother died of sickle cell anemia, a condition that her brother also has. Her plan has always been to attend Pennington College (her mother's school), play in their orchestra, and become a doctor. Unfortunately, the scholarship she was counting on doesn't come through and Liz is left needing more to make her dreams happen.