top of page

Living and All Grown Up


Full English translation available

Stranger Things in a Cold War times setting.

Living and All Grown Up is set in an alternative world where there is a border separating the living from the dead. There has been a war between the two; however, some forms of communication and cooperation exist. The general feeling is that a bad peace is better than a good war. However, the main characters struggle to find their standing and place their loyalties. Their choice is either to go with state propaganda or investigate the shadow areas and history of the conflict, to change the world and find a possibility for coexisting.

Nicka, Marina, Leva, and Gosha are 13 years old, they live in a strictly ordered society of the living in the aftermath of the bloody war with the dead which split the known world in two. They are taught that the dead are the enemy, every contact is forbidden and labeled treason. However, technologies, consumer goods, gossip, and movies trickle into the world of the living, and are of great value and interest. What’s across the Border? Should the teenagers trust the adults that all the dead are evil? Or is there more to this black and white order of things? When the friends stumble upon an opportunity to communicate with a teenage dead how can they resist?

They become friends with Mike who showers them with knowledge of the world of the dead. New gadgets, languages and jargon, new interpretation of the known historical events and social order – Nicka, Marina, Leva, and Gosha are sponging the information. How come their deadly enemy is just like them? He even falls in love with Marina although this is strictly forbidden – there is no time in the world of the dead and Mike will never age. This seemingly innocent exchange and blossoming friendships turn out to be a trap.

The group of friends incidentally help to breach the border and come under attack of zombies and other evil creatures. Their interaction has been flawed all along – scheming adults have been trying to use it to gain control of both worlds. Will they be able to restore the balance? The reader can easily see through the allusions of the two depicted world – one is controlled, grim and propaganda-driven, the other seductive in its abundance but seemingly soulless and submerged in consumerism. Meaningless consumption and money as the only true value vs ascetic idealism and propaganda. The conflict is recognizable as of the two conflicting ideologies.

This is an adventure and action-packed novel about growing up and making one’s mind, making tricky decisions and taking responsibility. Each of the teenagers becomes a hero in their own way, not just by fighting zombies but also making everyday choices that will define their future selves. With likable characters and recognizable conflicts, the novel can be read as a tense YA horror and espionage thriller or a musing on the everlasting issues of death, loyalty and freedom of will.

This is a story of real friendship, about coming of age, about first love, ethical choices and cynicism, of frankness and betrayal. It also tells that when you are an adult many things look different from what they appeared at the first sight. And it also tells that you should never despair and drop hopes to change the world.  

— Vasiliy Vladimirovsky, Mir Fantastiki


Two worlds, introduced by the author, still surround us these days.

— Vladimir Larionov, a critic

Book details


Novel, 2019

340 pp

Rights sold

  • All rights available

Literary awards

  • Longlisted for Yasnaya Polyana Award 2019

  • Shortlisted for the New Horizons Award 2019

bottom of page