I received this book as an ARC through Shelf Awareness. I immediately wanted to read it, because it sounded like such a sweet story, but it goes a lot deeper than just a romance between two people. Vaclav and Lena were first forced together when they were young, neither one really having any friends. Their imperfect English held them back from fully connecting with the American kids they went to school with. However, when they were together, they knew that the other would accept them unconditionally. It was easy to how much Vaclav adored Lena and that he would do anything for her. It was obvious that Lena cared for Vaclav as well, but her shocking and appalling home life made her extremely introverted; it was as if she had a wall up, even around her best friend, Vaclav. I could sense that there was something darker going on in Lena's home life that wasn't coming to light at the beginning, something more awful than just being left to fend for herself all of the time. My heart broke when Lena disappeared from Vaclav's life. She was his world, his sun and she was simply ripped away from him. No goodbyes, no finality. Just left to wonder if he would ever see her again.
The first part of the book went between telling the story from Vaclav and Lena's perspectives. I liked that, as it was nice to get a glimpse into what both of them were going through (although like I said, Lena remained somewhat of a mystery). The middle of the book takes place 7 years later and it is split up into two parts: Lena's story and Vaclav's story. This gives a lot more insight into Lena's life, especially in the time when she was very young, before she even met Vaclav. I think the sweetest thing is that even after all of that time, Vaclav still said goodnight to Lena, every single night. He was afraid that if he stopped doing so something bad would happen to her. Even after all of the time they spent apart, she was still the last thing he thought about before he went to bed.
Each section of the book is split up into little chapters. I liked the cute, descriptive chapter names (you'll see what I mean when you read it!) and I loved how short the chapters were. They were each like little stories all in their own. The last part of the book reveals a lot of answers I had been waiting for the whole time and that is why I'm not going to go into too much more detail about the book.
I do want to share one of my favorite quotes from the book (however, keep in mind that I read the ARC, so things might be different in the finished copy):
"Vaclav had already known that she was sitting there before he even saw her. He had felt her looking at him, He had known it was her, had to be her, because he felt, suddenly, the compulsion to turn and look at that bench, to look in her direction, like there were magnets in his eyes and she was a supermagnetized hunk of some other planet, just fallen to earth."
This was a wonderful book, showing how love can withstand space and time. It also shows how childhood can shape a person, for better or worse. I definitely recommend giving this book a chance; it's a fairly quick read, especially since I couldn't put it down, and it was impossible not to feel for the characters and fall in love with them.