Sarah Zuckerman and Jennifer Jones are best friends in an upscale
part of Washington, DC, in the politically charged 1980s. Sarah is the shy,
wary product of an unhappy home: her father abandoned the family to return
to his native England; her agoraphobic mother is obsessed with fears of nuclear
war. Jenny is an all-American girl who has seemingly perfect parents. With Cold
War rhetoric reaching a fever pitch in 1982, the ten-year-old girls write
letters to Soviet premier Yuri Andropov asking for peace. But only Jenny’s
letter receives a response, and Sarah is left behind when her friend accepts
the Kremlin’s invitation to visit the USSR and becomes an international media
sensation. The girls’ icy relationship still hasn’t thawed when Jenny and her
parents die tragically in a plane crash in 1985.
Ten years later, Sarah is about to graduate from college
when she receives a mysterious letter from Moscow suggesting that Jenny’s death
might have been a hoax. She sets off to the former Soviet Union in search of
the truth, but the more she delves into her personal Cold War history, the
harder it is to separate fact from propaganda.
You Are One of Them is a taut, moving debut about the ways in which
we define ourselves against others and the secrets we keep from those who are
closest to us. In this insightful forensic of a mourned friendship, Holt
illuminates the long-lasting sting of abandonment and the measures we take to
bring back those we have lost.
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