Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner

In Vaclav and Lena, Vaclav, who's 10 years old, wants to be a world famous magician. He enlists the help of his friend, Lena, to be his assistant. Together they hatch a plan to one day perform on Coney Island. One day, however, Lena disappears without so much as a goodbye to Vaclav. Years later when they are reunited, Yaclav discovers the ugly truth behind Lena's disappearance, while the two of them try to pick up where they left off.

I really enjoyed this book. This story about the Russian immigrant experience, through the eyes of children, was extremely fascinating. I think there's more to this book than what first appears on the surface. The story was presented in a light and fun manner, but the situation for Lena at home with her Aunt was anything but. My heart broke for Lena and her situation as well as for Vaclav, who lost his best friend with no warning or explanation.

I love short chapters, so the ones in this book were perfect for me. I especially liked the names of them. It was almost like Vaclav himself titled them. They definitely made the book fun to read.

Both Vaclav and Lena were wonderful main characters. Vaclav loves magic, lists and Lena. His enthusiasm was infectious. I was silently cheering him on. Lena is an orphan, who's home life is very troubled. I didn't get a sense that magic was that important to her, but she went along with it because she cased for Vaclav and wanted to appease him. 

Recommended. I'd love to read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit the Random House website.

For more information about the author, please visit Haley Tanner's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Random House for this review copy.

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner, The Dial Press (Random House), ©2011. ISBN 9780679603870(Advance Reader's Edition), 285p.

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