You Are One of Them

You Are One of Them

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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."
--Maggie Shipstead, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
"A story about Russia, the United States, friendship, identity, defection, and deception that is smart, startling, and worth reading regardless of when you were born."
--Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine
"Holt's beguiling debut… in which there is no difference between personal and political betrayal, vividly conjures the anxieties of the Cold War without ever lapsing into nostalgia."
-- The New Yorker

Sarah Zuckerman and Jennifer Jones are best friends in an upscale part of Washington, D.C., 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 Engl∧ 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 facts 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 her 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.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, c2013.
ISBN: 9781594205286
Characteristics: 293 p. ; 22 cm.
Alternative Title: You're one of them


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 30, 2015

Sarah Zuckerman defines herself by the people she's lost & ends up in 1990s Moscow chasing one or two ghosts. I loved the way this novel brought back the 1980s and 90s. Unapologetic in its melancholy tone.

Jan 07, 2014

This was a random choice - I have liked older Russian lit. Much of the book was skimmed because I found it tedious, although I enjoyed the details of more modern Russia & wonder just how accurate it is. It reminded me a bit of the current tv series The Americans, taking place about the same time period. It also reminded me of how gullible or trusting each is of their own surroundings, be it family, church, school, socio-economic beliefs, government. Very present are suggestions that not all of what one is taught/told is the absolute truth & the only right way to function.

Dec 23, 2013

This book gets you, the reader, hooked from the get-go. This is Ms Holt's first book, and she is a fine writer. Is this a mystery novel, a spy novel, a coming of age story, a relationship story? Perhaps all of the above. For me, it was ultimately about dealing with unfairness in life and finding the ability to move on. There are also many fascinating insider details about Russia's transition from totalitarian communist state through the 80s and 90s towards present day's "New" Russia. It's a very interesting, very well written story. Thumbs up!

Jul 15, 2013

Really enjoyed this book :)

Jun 18, 2013

This is a wonderful novel.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top