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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elliott Holt Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “The great accomplishment in You Are One of Them is how effortlessly the vast and global mixes with—and informs—the deeply felt story of a lost friendship. Elliott Holt is graceful, sharp, and supersmart, and her novel is a bildungsroman for the atomic age.”

    Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author

  • You Are One of Them journeys through the US and Russia, perfectly capturing that frightening time in the 1980s when every child went to bed dreaming of mushroom clouds. Like the cold war, this remarkable novel revolves around hidden truths and unreliable friendships. Elliott Holt skillfully draws out her characters’ secrets, exploring the different ways we open and close our hearts and delivering a well-wrought tale of international and emotional intrigue.”

    Hannah Tinti, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Elliott Holt has done something utterly amazing. Through the experiences of Sarah Zuckerman, the fantastic and complicated narrator of You Are One of Them, Holt shows us a genuine and heartfelt coming of age story that so convincingly reveals the deceptions and half truths of growing up. I have rarely seen such a thought-provoking and engrossing portrayal of how our experiences shape us and, consequently, those we most love. This is an eloquent, startling novel, and Elliott Holt is a fearless writer.”

    Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Holt’s descriptions of Moscow in the mid-1990s are fascinating, slyly funny, and full of melancholy details…You Are One of Them is a hugely absorbing first novel from a writer with a fluid, vivid style and a rare knack for balancing the pleasure of entertainment with the deeper gratification of insight. More, please.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Holt evokes post–Cold War Moscow as capably as she renders Washington, summoning piquant details—the rusting infrastructure swathed in grime and cigarette smoke; the streets thronged with track-suited men, scolding old ladies, supermodels, prostitutes, expats—and the vigorous mood of a culture striving for reinvention…Holt has found inventive ways to use language that suggests the porousness of identity, the correspondence between self and other, neighbor and foreigner, you and them. Her ingenuity brings distinction to this confident, crafty first novel.”

    Washington Post

  • “Telling details of Soviet oppression and Russia’s budding advertising industry paint a vivid portrait of a country testing the waters of democracy. Holt, who won a Pushcart Prize for her short fiction, writes with a pleasing, wry intelligence in this promising debut.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Holt, once a copywriter and now an award-winning fiction author, evokes with perfect clarity the sparkling tones of friendship and the hollow clangs of betrayal. Holt’s Cold War plot and setting make a fertile medium for growing the suspicion that loyalty is but love’s plaything. This debut novel delivers a satisfying and mature narrative for all readers and may have a special resonance for young adults.”

    Library Journal

  • “Holt perfectly melds the personal and the political in this spot-on portrait of a girlhood friendship set against a Cold War backdrop…Holt ably captures both the paranoia of the Cold War and the shabby yet genteel aura of an exhausted Moscow just after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But it is her razor-sharp insights into the turbulent dynamics of female friendship that give this novel its heft.”


  • “Elliott Holt is not just a promising writer but a great writer. She’s young, and she’s a master. I was going to write that You Are One of Them could’ve been written by an Alice Munro or a Susan Minot, but that would be wrong. Because this book could only have been written by Elliott Holt, whose powerful new voice is her own.”

    Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng

  • “Elliott Holt’s debut novel You Are One of Them reads with the heartbreaking ring of truth to it as she deftly taps a well of feeling that is at once primal, archetypical, and deeply personal. Through the character of Sarah, Holt explores the indelible stain of grief, a child’s desire for détente, and the inescapable awareness of the life that could have been but wasn’t. Holt’s ability to unwind the dangerous power of secrets and to blend fact and fiction, past and present, make for an evocative journey that circles around to illustrate how far we sometimes have to travel in order to find the self that was there all along.”

    A. M. Homes, author of May We Be Forgiven

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, May 2013
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Author

Elliott Holt’s short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon ReviewGuernica, and Bellevue Literary Review. She won a 2011 Pushcart Prize and was the runner-up for the 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award. A graduate of the MFA program at Brooklyn College, where she won the Himan Brown Award, Holt has received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, and Yaddo. She is a former contributing editor at One Story magazine and a former copywriter, having worked at advertising agencies in Moscow, London, and New York. She currently resides in her hometown of Washington, DC.