Thursday, May 3, 2012

[Book Review] While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

While He Was Away
by Karen Schreck
Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: NetGalley

"This is just something I have to do, okay?" I hear David say. "The right thing."

He cradles my face in his hands. He kisses me hard. Then he lets go of me. His eyes dart from me to whatever's next.

All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone.

When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing.

She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?
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While He Was Away has a very touching and moving story along with it. I find this book very relatable especially with the Long Distance Relationship of Penna and David. I can feel for David and Penna, the way they miss each other, the way they try to communicate. It felt that every emotion was captured in every line. The story is very inspiring for people who are having long distance relationship. You’ll find yourself smiling and relating to their journey. On how they try to make things work out despite missing each other, on how Penna try to hold on with missing David.

The journey of Penna and David is very inspiring, I think aside from learning on how to cope up with missing each other this book will teach you how to be patient and strong for the people you love. If you love someone you’ll hold to them no matter what happens.

David is a very commendable character; I like how he keeps in touch with Penna. He’s a very sweet character and you can really feel that he loves Penna. He tries his best to call or write emails to Penna, he is a lovely character that I think you’ll love. Penna on the other hand is a very anxious character. But who could blame her for feeling this way? What would you do if the person you love chooses to be away? I can say that Penna is a very vulnerable character, despite David going away she tried her best to be strong for their relationship. The relationship of Penna and David is admirable, they love each other and I think that is enough.

If you think this book is just your normal love story, I say you think twice. This book also tackles on how Penna fixed her family. On how she try to be strong for her family along with missing David, I find it heartbreaking knowing about her grandmother. There is more than this book that meets the eye. I must say that I’m really surprised with the ending, I was expecting something different but I think it happened for a reason. Not exactly the perfect ending but I think it was for the best.

Cover wise it's perfect! I think the cover captures every emotion that the book conveys. With the quote “Love can conquer any distance… right?” I think it’s the perfect cover for the story.

If you are looking for a great summer read you won’t get disappointed on this one! I like the premise and the story, you’ll find yourself sucked in the moment you know about Penna and David, on how they struggle of missing each other. This is not your typical story and I say you don’t dare miss it!


I got this book in participation of the Blog Tour and has no way affected my review of the book.

 Read first chapter FREE!

About the Author

Karen Schreck is the author of the young adult novel WHILE HE WAS AWAY (Sourcebooks Fire, May 2012), as well as the novel DREAM JOURNAL, which was a 2006 Young Adult BookSense Pick, and the award-winning children's book, LUCY'S FAMILY TREE. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She writes and teaches for a living, and she loves visiting schools and other gatherings of readers and writers to talk about her books the writing process.

Watch out for Katherine Grace Bond's Guest Post for a chance to win a copy of The Summer of No Regrets and While He Was Away!


  1. This sounds freaking amazing! I've been hearing about this book for a while now, but I really had no idea what it was about so I'm glad to have read your review because it gave me a little more insight then I had before.

    Thanks for linking the first chapter too! I just read it and the writing style seems pretty unique!

  2. I wanna read this soon! sounds really good.

    Great review!

  3. This sounds like a tearjerker, but a good one!

  4. Wow the review really makes me want to read this book. Great review!

  5. Great review. I never knew what this book was about and now it sounds great. Also, I love the long distance relationship part. You don't see too many books about that.

  6. wow, sounds so good! thanks for the excerpt!

  7. I love how it's a very real love story, how they struggle to support each other and how Penna also grows on her own.

    Love the excerpt!

  8. This is such a great review! :) It sounds like an awesome contemporary romance that doesn't JUST focus on a romance. :)

  9. Very nice review, especially about the characters. Sounds like a good book.

  10. Wow, nice review. Thanks for the heads up about the depth of the book. I look forward to checking this one out.

  11. wow great a riview..cant wait to reading this books..putting it in my TBR..

  12. So excited to read this book! I love getting first chapter sneak peaks :D

  13. Both of these sound fascinating. I love YA of all kinds, but especially YA that deals with current events.

  14. Oooh I'm so happy you enjoyed it! This one has been on my TBR list for a while and now I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Great review :)

  15. Love your review! Sounds like a good summer read :)

  16. I need this book ASAP and after reading you review I just have to get this book and lock myself in my room so I can read it with no interruptions.


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