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 10-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.
10 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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Great background book
- Marya Sherer Nielander
You Are One of Them
You Are One of Them is 8.5 hours of listening, read by Cassandra Campbell. There is considerable creative license taken with this book but it is based on a true story. Do a Google search for Samantha Reed Smith for the facts. I know there are many authors who do this type of historical fiction, but personally I’d rather the author presented the facts. They are equally interesting. When a novel includes historical detail that is true and integrates it with fictitious characters, that’s one thing . But when the history of a character is distorted for the sake of a book … it’s quite another, and that isn’t doing justice to the real-life character, the reader, nor the author.
The reading by Cassandra Campbell was fine, a nice production. The topic and history, not so much.