While He Was Away by Karen Schreck | Book Review

Pages: 249

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Format: Paperback

Source: Public Library

Age Group: Young Adult



One year–he’ll be
gone for one year and then we’ll be together again and everything will be back
to the way it should be.
The day David left, I felt like my heart was breaking. Sure, any long-distance
relationship is tough, but David was going to war–to fight, to protect, to put
his life in danger. We can get through this, though. We’ll talk, we’ll email,
we won’t let anything come between us.
I can be on army girlfriend for one year. But will my sweet, soulful, funny
David be the same person when he comes home? Will I? And what if he doesn’t
come home at all…?

Rating: Not for me.

book 2 book 2

I’m picky about my YA Contemporaries… And, While He Was Away was just not my piece of cake. I don’t even remember the exact reason I wanted to read this book so badly… It was an OK read that progressed as you got further into the story.

So, the main focus of While He Was Away was Penna dealing with her boyfriend, David, leaving to fight in Iraq. Military themed books have been showing up quite a bit in YA and lots of people have been big fans of them. But, this one fell a bit flat too me. I was excited to learn more about Penna & David’s relationship, but he was so absent… I was expecting more flashbacks, but the book mainly focuses on Penna.

Penna was an unbelievably devoted girlfriend. I can’t even imagine being an army girlfriend. And, Penna tried extremely hard to keep her relationship with David. Sure, she had some doubts & worries here & there, but she was very faithful. It was interesting to see how she dealt with the grief & worry of David fighting in Iraq. But, I never felt that connection with Penna and enjoyed her story better.

Towards the end of the book, I started to enjoy While He Was Away much more. The ending actually shocked me majorly! I didn’t see it coming at all!! (Don’t want to spoil it for you guys.)

Overall, it was not the best Contemporary read, but an interesting army girlfriend novel. It’s a bit slow at the beginning and starts up at the end. Also, it was kind of lacking the guy and focused more on the girlfriend. If you’re into military themed reads you might be interested in While He Was Away.


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