Sarah Zuckerman is a shy, wary ten-year-old in a seemingly placid, upscale neighbourhood of Washington, D.C., in the politically charged 1980s. In Sarah's unhappy home her mother is agoraphobic and obsessed with the possibility of nuclear war; her father has abandoned the family to return to his native England. Sarah's prospects brighten, however, when she is befriended by Jenny Jones, an all-American girl who moves into the house across the street with her picture-perfect family. With Cold War rhetoric reaching a fever pitch in 1982, the girls distract themselves on a rainy afternoon by writing letters to Soviet premier Yuri Andropov, asking for peace. Surprisingly, Jenny's letter receives a response from Andropov. When Jenny accepts the Kremlin's invitation to visit the USSR with her family, she becomes an international media sensation while Sarah is left behind. The girls' icy relationship still has not 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 a woman in Moscow, suggesting that Jenny's death may have been a hoax. She sets off to the former Soviet Union to uncover the truth, but the more she delves into her personal Cold War history, the harder it is to separate facts from propaganda. This is a story about friendship and the shape-shifting nature of truth, the long-lasting sting of abandonment and the measures we take to bring back those we have lost.