I Must Betray You

Ruta Sepetys has written a sobering account of life in Romania in 1989 under the ruthless dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. It is told through the eyes of a young man, Christian Florescu, who dreams of life beyond the grey existence that Romanians were subjected to on a daily basis. Electricity was routinely turned off, hours of time spent standing on food lines would yield a dented can of beans out of date by 2 years, or maybe an onion the size of an olive. Worst of all were the Secu, the secret police who amassed thousands of informants, even family members, who would turn in family for a benefit such as extra food. Yet the heroics of many Romanians in 1989, after learning of neighboring Communist Bloc countries who revolted against oppressive rule to earn freedom, enabled Romania to finally overthrow the evil Ceausescus, whose daughter had gold-plated bathroom faucets, while most of her fellow countrymen were starving, or being tortured in prisons for speaking out. Christian’s character keeps a hidden notebook of all the atrocities, and delivers it to an American diplomat, in order to highlight what was happening in his country. This is a must read for all, as a wake-up call to not take for granted the freedoms we enjoy in this country, especially in 2022, with Ukraine fighting for their freedom from another ruthless dictator.

The Vanishing Stair

Number two in the Truly Devious teen mystery series, The Vanishing Stair has Stevie Bell returning to the prestigious Ellingham Academy, where the murder of a student took place before she was sent home. Edward King, a politician that her parents work for, convinces those parents to let Stevie go back to the school. In turn, he expects her to keep an eye on his son, whom Stevie likes very much. Actually, the same intensity of feeling with which she dislikes Edward King. Another student’s dead body turns up, and the stakes are raised. Can Stevie solve the mystery of Ellingham and catch the murderer before it’s too late? Tune in to find out…

The Guardian recommends summer reading

The Guardian Bookshop home page

Britain’s Guardian is a reliable source of book reviews and recommendations. I usually discover a title or author not yet popular in the United States. They recently published: ‘Summer Reading: the 50 Hottest New Books Everyone Should Read.’ Divided into categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Paperbacks, Children and Teens, the list delivers both well-known and more obscure authors you will want to know about (the list contains new works by Rachel Cusk, Michael Rosen, and Patricia Lockwood). Most are readily available in the library. Well worth taking a peek.

On the Come Up

Bri’s dad was an awesome rapper, something she aspires to be. But his life was cut short when a rival gang member shot and killed him when Bri was very young. She wins a spot “in the Ring”, a neighborhood club where budding artists “Battle” it out. But when Bri is unjustly thrown to the ground by a school guard, she decides to channel her rage and impotence into her rapping. Angie Thomas is a wonderful writer who draws on her experience as an African-American female to realistically portray the battles faced everyday by people of color. Her first novel was The Hate You Give, followed by this title, and her newest is Concrete Rose. I really enjoy reading her; all three titles are excellent young adult novels.

Free Audio Books for ‘Teens


SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+.

AudioFile began its annual audio book spring/summer program on April 29th. Every Thursday through mid-August, they will release 2 teen audio titles that are downloadable for free for a week. Participants need to get the free Sora app (an Overdrive product) to access these books. This week’s books for Week 3 , May 13 – 19, 2021: has a Rooted in China theme with 2 fiction titles available. Titles are yours indefinitely once you “borrow” them during their 7-day availability window in Sora.

Running April 29 – August 4 2021,  SYNC gives participants two thematically paired audiobooks each week.  Titles are all available worldwide and change every Thursday at midnight Eastern Time during the season.