The Story That Cannot Be Told
The Story That Cannot Be Told

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 families had enough food, and the hot water worked on more than just Saturday nights. Others are folktales like the one she was named for, which her father used to tell her at bedtime. But some stories can get you in trouble, like the dangerous one criticizing Romania’s Communist government that Uncle Andrei published—right before he went missing.

Fearing for her safety, Ileana’s parents send her to live with the grandparents she’s never met, far from the prying eyes and ears of the secret police and their spies, who could be any of the neighbors. But danger is never far away. Now, to save her family and the village she’s come to love, Ileana will have to tell the most important story of her life.

Book Details


  • Historical Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 8 - 12

In The Story that Cannot Be Told, main character Ilena collects stories of all kinds and revises the endings to her liking. She writes down all of the stories in a book she calls The Great Tome. Ilena and her family try to have a good life, despite Romania's corrupt leader. When Ilena's uncle writes a story criticizing the communist government, the secret police come after Ilena and her family. Ilena's parents make the difficult decision to send Ilena to stay with her grandparents. Ilena doesn't want to go live with the grandparents she has never met.

To add your comments, login above or request a LitPick membership.