Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Story That Cannot Be Told” as Want to Read:
The Story That Cannot Be Told
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Story That Cannot Be Told

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  58 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 (first published October 1st 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Story That Cannot Be Told, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Story That Cannot Be Told

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  151 ratings  ·  58 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Story That Cannot Be Told
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.
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.
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 ...more
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 exciting
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, which is
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 ...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.
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 imprisonment, torture and
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, kids
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
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 other children,
Bonnie Grover
“Once a story is told, it stays with you forever.” I have always been interested in books that deal with communistic government. Food is rationed, media is censored, and no one dares speak out against the government. Fearing for their daughter’s safety, Ileana’s parents send her to live with the grandparents she’s never met because Bucharest, Romania is no longer safe. This book is filled with historical facts and interspersed with folk tales. The unforgettable stories serve to highlight the ...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.
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 deeply
Kelly Coon
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Part Romanian folklore, part historical fiction, this tale of Ileana battling monsters—both real and imagined—against the backdrop of a Communist regime is absolutely breathtaking. The prose flowed beautifully, and the story itself was heartbreaking and hopeful. I read it cover to cover in two sittings (almost impossible for a woman with three kids and a full time job!!)
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!
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
Rajani LaRocca
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told, richly woven story about a girl and her family living in communist Romania. The combination of the bleak oppression of the government and the immersive folktales is mesmerizing. Kids and adults alike will root for brave Ileana learning to find her voice and her power in dark times.
Jennifer Camiccia
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is fabulous!! Ileana is a storyteller in communist Romania at a time where telling stories is incredibly dangerous. I loved how the author used folklore in a way that complimented the main story. Incredibly touching and beautiful—a definite must read!!
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner thank you to author @jkasperkramer and publisher @simonkids for sharing a review copy of The Story That Cannot Be Told with the #kidlitexchange network. All opinions are my own. This book came out beginning of October and I highly recommend getting a copy!

The Story That Cannot Be Told is a beautifully written book weaving together a piece of Romania’s history and it’s folktales. Told from the point of view of Ileana, a teenager living in Communist Romania, it is a tale
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ileana was a storyteller who collected stories, but stories were dangerous in Communist Romania. When her uncle disappears and their apartment was bugged, Ileana’s father destroyed her book of stories that she had been collecting for years in order to protect them all. Then her parents decide to send Ileana off to live with her maternal grandparents whom she has never met. The rural village is very different from the city that Ileana grew up in. After a period of anger, she gradually adjusts to ...more
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 socialist Romanian
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 storyteller.
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
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
Michelle Kidwell
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Story That Cannot Be Told
by J. Kasper Kramer

Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Children’s Fiction

Pub Date 08 Oct 2019

I am reviewing a copy of The Story That Cannot Be Told through Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing/ Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Netgalley:

Ileana collects stories, some are about the past, before the leader of the country
tore down her home, the home she loved to make room for his Golden Palace, when people had enough work, and
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 ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this... but I’m not sure I actually did. In my mind I kept getting the time period confused and kept having to reframe my visual to 1989 instead of where I kept picturing it, in the 2nd World War time period. That could have partially to do with my naïveté about this particular situation in history, but with the folklore in the story and the talk of trains and cottages, sorry, I just had a hard time feeling like this was a modern story. Every once in awhile I’d read a line in ...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 ...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 readers
Allison Parker
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eleven-year-old Ileana is named for a folktale, so it's no wonder that her life's work is stories. She collects them - folklore, stories from her family, and her own inventions. But in Cold-War-era Romania under totalitarian rule, stories can be dangerous. When Ileana copies her uncle's anti-government poem in her hand-bound tome of collected stories, her parents, fearing the Securitate will come for their daughter, send her to the countryside to live with grandparents she's never met. But ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Roll with It
  • I Can Make This Promise
  • Lalani of the Distant Sea
  • A Place to Belong
  • Shine!
  • My Jasper June
  • Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
  • Look Both Ways
  • Hurricane Season
  • White Bird
  • The World Ends in April
  • The Year We Fell From Space
  • Planet Earth Is Blue
  • Wildfire
  • The Okay Witch
  • Words on Fire
  • Some Places More Than Others
  • More to the Story
See similar books…