Patrik has grown up with Danika, but has started to have romantic feelings for her. They have played games and shared an interest in the Beatles, but things become difficult between them when Bozek moves from Bratislava and Danika finds him attractive, and politics also comes between them. Patrik's father is a psychiatrist who balks at being told by the government what diagnoses to hand out, but he doesn't know what he would do in the US. Danika's father decides to join the Communist Party so that he can get a better job earning more money and perhaps put meat on the table. After Patrik is caught in several acts of "treason" (graffiti and setting fire to a flag at a rally) and sentenced to being an apprentice to a miner instead of being able to continue in school, the family decides that the must leave Czechoslovakia no matter what happens to them.
There is not much fiction about the Communist regime during the 1960s, and this describes the living conditions in that time and place very well.