I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
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. Christian must decide if he is going to attempt to protect himself, and go along with being an informant, or if he is going to fight back against the system.
This book portrays what life was like in Romania under the regime of Ceaușescu or "fearless leader". People have to stand in line for their food that is provided by the government, they live in constant fear of being turned in for any indiscretion, the power is turned off without warning (in the winter), and everyone must live in predetermined apartments. I couldn't put the book down and I was horrified by what life was like for these people. We think of these living conditions as distance history, not many of us imagine that these living conditions continued into out life time.
This book is an example of why we must continue to share history, even if it makes us uncomfortable. We must also support free speech and the sharing of information. It shows why libraries and other places that house these stories are a cornerstone of our communities. This book is available in the library and on OverDrive.