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The Story That Cannot Be Told

4.69  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A powerful middle grade debut that weaves together folklore and history to tell the story of a girl finding her voice and the strength to use it during the final months of the Communist regime in Romania in 1989.

Ileana has always collected stories. Some are about the past, before the leader of her country tore down her home to make room for his golden palace; back when
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Cory Leonardo
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is about as perfect as it gets. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an ARC, and it was un-putdownable. Think Wolf Hollow, Beyond the Bright Sea, and The War That Saved My Life and add folklore, political unrest, and Communist Romania of the 80's. Ileana is a heroine to root for, and the book's remarkable discussion about truth and the power of books and story is one we need now more than ever. I can't wait to have this one prominently displayed on my shelf.
Celia McMahon
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to gain access to this story via Edelweiss and the publisher, but I first had this book on my radar via Twitter. I thought, how oh how can I beg for an arc of this book? Luckily, Edelweiss got it soon after, and I gobbled it up. To say that this book was amazing, wonderful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, etc. is an understatement. THE STORY THAT CANNOT BE TOLD took me through a time in history that I was not well educated on and wove together fairy-tales and a heroine up ag ...more
Naomi Milliner
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of THE BOOK THIEF, this incredible debut novel is harrowing and hopeful - sometimes even humorous. Ileana, its young heroine, is someone you will fall in love with, and her story is one that MUST be told.
Ms. Yingling
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Had quite an evening of books I liked that my students would let gather dust.

Romania in 1989. Very interesting. Liked the characters and the glimpse into their world. However, it is an unusual historical period, and the reliance on tales slowed this down from time to time. Also, a bit on the long side.

This would go well with Nielsen's Words on Fire, but since I seem to have completely lost my readership for folk tales (students also don't know Mother Goose,
Joshua Levy
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How do I describe THE STORY THAT CANNOT BE TOLD? Yes, it's about Ileana and her family, who live in 1980s Communist Romania. When Ileana's parents send her away to live with her estranged grandparents in a rural village--all is not as it seems. What Ileana thinks she knows, she doesn't. As J. Kasper Kramer's expertly-crafted book unfolds, the tales that Ileana tells us may or may not be true. What seems fantastical is, in many ways, quite real. And reality is colored by experience and perspectiv ...more
Kim Smejkal
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, this book. I lucked out and got my hands on an arc, but I will be buying this for my children AND my parents when it releases. Truly, this is a story all ages will treasure.
Ruth Ann Lingwall
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love finding a read aloud that is entertaining and teaches about cultures, values, or history. The Story That Cannot Be Told did all three. Reading it as a family or class provides an excellent chance to talk about concepts of choice and individuality, how to treat others, and the role of government in our lives.

All my kids, except my toddler, found this book quite interesting. My second grader, Rebekah, stayed to listen most of the time but decided the book was just okay. The othe
Laura Gardner
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Sometimes the words that you say aren't what's important. Sometimes what's important are the words that you hide."

Thank you to @simonkids for the free book to share with #kidlitexchange. This 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 book is out 10/8/19. Debut by @jkasperkramer .

I was captivated by this historical novel about 1989 Romania. Ileana lives in a world heavily controlled by the Communist government; food is heavily rationed, media is censored and anyone who criticizes the government faces impri
Shaye Miller
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is J. Kasper Kramer's middle grade debut and WOW did it knock my socks off. I HIGHLY recommend! It's longer than the typical middle grade read and there are such complexities that the young adult and adult crowd may enjoy it even more. So I'd aim more for upper middle grade and older. The writing often reminded me of The Bear and the Nightingale, if you're familiar with Arden's beautiful word-weaving and folklore.

Ileana loves to share stories and change them when they aren't exc
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inside look at living under Ceausescu. Ileana has to leave Bucharest and live in the mountains with her grandparents to be safe from arrest -- for telling stories. This book has intense moments. This was a time of great oppression and it was just thirty years ago that Ceausescu was overthrown! My husband's parents sponsored a Romanian immigrant in the early 1980's. His harrowing escape is a part of our family story. Stories like this remind us all of the freedoms we must not take for granted. ...more
Illeana lives with her parents in Bucharest at the height of power for the Communist Regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Her family's flat was demolished to make way for his grand palace and they now live in a much smaller place. They have to be careful of what they say and do since you never know who could be spying on you. After an bugs are discovered in their apartment, Illeana's parents decide she will be better off in the country with her grandparents. She has never met her grandparents nor been o ...more
Kim Swanson
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
a young adult masterpiece, that has bearing in this world as well as the past. pulls no punches as it places you in danger. you’ll appreciate not being talked down to but being included in this story that can’t be told. don’t try to rush it. i thought for sure a two day read. some scenes are like earthquakes. it’ll knock you off your feet. take your time. it won’t disappoint.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, 2019
Breathtaking and beautifully written, THE STORY THAT CANNOT BE TOLD tells the story of Ileana, who lives in Communist Romania in 1989. When political strife hits way too close to home, Ileana is relocated to her grandparents’ remote mountain village—which is not as safe as her parents hoped.

This is a story for those who love adventure, history, political intrigue, folklore, friendships, family, and, above all, those who love story. I was on the edge of my seat and/or wiping away tears and/or la
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in 1989 Romania at the peak of the Ceausescu's oppressive regime, this extraordinary debut weaves history, storytelling, family and the power of words into a spellbinding story.

When 10-year-old Ileana discovers listening bugs secreted in her apartment, her terrified parents secretly send her away to a distant mountain village to stay with the grandparents she has never met. Ileana and her father had shared a deep love of storytelling and writing and Ileana spent much of her time
Valerie McEnroe
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
ARC from Netgalley

As much as I appreciate this book for providing a glimpse into a part of modern European history that has eluded me, I can't recommend it to the target audience. It's far too long, confusing at times, and doesn't effectively explain the nature of the conflict.

As the story unfolds Ileana is mostly confined to her city apartment as the freedoms she once enjoyed slowly erode. She passes the time by writing stories and sharing them with her parents. The soci
Kate Waggoner
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read
@kidlitexchange #partner

Thank you to @simonkids and @jkasperkramer for sharing an advance copy of The Story That Cannot Be Told with the #kidlitexchange network. This book will be released October 8, 2019. All opinions are my own.

This is a beautifully written story that weaves together Romanian folklore and history. It tells the story of a young girl, Ileana, who is growing up in Bucharest during the Communist regime. Her father is a professor, her uncle is a poet, and Ileana is a s
Ren HappilyBuriedInBooks
Ileana’s story is that of a girl in Romania during the few months before and up to the time the Communist regime under “The Leader” ended in 1989. Fearing for their daughter’s safety, Ileana’s parents devise a plan to keep her out of harm’s way, sending her across the country by train. Having only lived in city apartments, Ileana must adjust to life farming the countryside with her grandparents and the other villagers.

The book is about Ileana and her relationships with family, friends, and neig
M.L. Little
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner: The Story That Cannot Be Told by @jkasperkramer and Atheneum Books. Releases 10-8-19.
For the first time ever, I forgot to take a picture of a book before it was out of my possession. Thank goodness I had one photo archived from my stories.
Set in the days before Romania’s 1989 revolution, this book tells the story of a young girl sent away from Bucharest to live in a country village with her grandparents after it’s discovered her apartment is bugged by com
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stories are a part of life but what happens when they can’t be told? The Story That Cannot Be Told by new author J. Kasper Kramer presents an exhilarating and thought-provoking journey into the proper time and place of stories. Set in Romania during Communist rule, the story begins as a young girl, Ileana, collects stories—folktales, bedtime stories, and stories of her own. Ileana loves telling stories and, dangerously, changing stories. She knows enough about the world around her to have her ow ...more
Olga Barnes
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a hard, hard book for me to read. I was born and raised in a communist governed country and my family did not belong to any sort of a resistors groups. My whole childhood, I read books about communists being our saving grace and about children heroes who turned in their parents. It all went down by the time I turned 11. This book brought to the surface the opposite view of the communists and the secret police, the resistors, the helplessness against the government. It's not that I did n ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ileana and her family live in Communist Romania in 1989, a perilous place for storytellers and rebels alike. When the family learns that they are in the crosshairs of the government’s secret service, they send Ileana to live with her grandparents in a remote village deep in the countryside. Yet, risk and danger follow on Ileana’s heels, forcing her to make decisions with potentially dire consequences.

J. Kasper Kramer’s The Story That Cannot Be Told is a gripping tale that will engage
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, kids
Girl who is obsessed with storytelling has to flee after her parents/uncle are marked as traitors. Stays with grandparents in rustic village and navigates communist regime. Grandfather's history in the siege of Odessa and Stalingrad discussed (horrifying). Torture. Informants. Realistic. Helpful for understanding what life is like under a totalitarian government, and I learned a lot about the era that I did not know. I had a hard time connecting with Ileana, and it dives slightly into magical re ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i borrowed an arc of this book from a friend who works in publishing. my "5 stars" for this book are, because, above all us, this was one of the most un-put-down-able books i have read in years. i was totally enraptured by the story and was consistently surprised by its twists and turns. additionally, ileana was a bright, compelling character; when i was a younger reader, i would have loved to see another 11-year-old so brave, committed, and loyal in a text like this.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A historical MG about the fall of the Ceaușescu regime in Romania? Yes, please. This is a setting I've not seen before, and I loved the way it not only felt immersive and authentic, but the way it built on the folklore and fairy tales of the region, adding a hint of magic to the main story. Must read for historical fans!
John Howell
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful story of a young girl in Communist Romania who loves to tell stories related to Romanian folklore with her own endings. The author cleverly interweaves these stories with real life events in a rather unique way. This book may well be worthy of awards in juvenile fiction.
Julia Waters
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Knowing little to nothing about Romanian history upon beginning this book, I was not prepared for how powerful it would be. The Story that Cannot be Told tells the tale of a ten-year-old girl living through Nicolae Ceaușescu's communist regime. As I have mentioned in other reviews, magical realism is close to my heart. Kramer beautifully weaves Romanian folklore and the steely spirit of a young girl into the difficult topics of oppression, exploitation, and revolution. Another choice I respect is Kr ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book had me all wrapped up, like a blanket keeping me warm on a cool night. Or was it like a blanket trapping me from escape? I suppose that depends on which story Ileana is telling. Ileana is one of the bravest characters I’ve met. What are you waiting for? Go read this book!
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was great, if not a little dark for younger readers. I was lucky enough to get an ARC from my librarian. It was an eye- opening story that sounds like the author was writing it as if it had happened to themselves. The author is so talented and I give it a five star rating.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
J. Kasper Kramer's The Story That Cannot Be Told is an incredible read from start to finish. The narrative line is intersected with fairytales that build until a point where the reader isn't sure what's real and what's fairytale. Amazing book for all ages.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Totally fantastic read. Very Book Thief-esque and excellent, interesting subject matter. Solidly recommend!
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