Thursday, May 10, 2012

While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

Title: While He Was Away
Author: Karen Schreck
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
"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 say. 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?
I have been wanting to read While He Was Way since I first hear about it so I had some pretty high expectations going in. Many of those expectations were met, and even surpassed, but once I finished the book I wasn't fully satisfied. Despite that, While He Was Away was a book I really enjoyed.

The whole time she has been with David, Penna has known that this day would come. The day that David would ship off to Iraq with the army. But knowing the day would come doesn't make it any easier. Penna takes comfort in the fact that David will only be gone for a year. But that still doesn't make it any easier now that David is gone. In an effort to distract herself, Penna attempts to find her long-lost grandmother after discovering she went through something similar to her. Little by little Penna starts to find a way of getting on without David. But every time she talks to David, he seems to be changing, pulling away. And Penna's biggest concern becomes whether David will still be the same boy she fell in love with.

I had pretty high expectations when I started reading Karen Schreck's While He Was Away, and the majority of them were met. Once I started reading, it didn't take very long for me to get dragged into the story and found myself having more and more difficulty putting the book down. The story Karen Schreck wrote had many layers to it and that's what I loved most about it. On the surface it was the story of a girl whose boyfriend goes off to war. But then it becomes more than that, and it made me love the story more. My main disappointment was the ending. While I was happy with how it ended, I was sort of expecting more. But that doesn't take away from the fact that it was a great story.

There was a lot more to Penna than met the eye and I really liked that about her. At first she appeared to be just a girl pining for her boyfriend. But once she sort of got over that, I realized that she was a lot stronger than she appeared and could be stubborn in a very good way. What I love most about Penna was how caring she was. It seemed she was always welcoming new people, even when she barely knew them. The rest of the characters were all very unique, and even with the more minor ones, I could really picture them clearly in my mind. What I especially liked about the characters was that they all worked together and the story wouldn't have been the same if you took out any one of them.

In While He Was Away, Karen Schreck wrote a touching and moving story about a girl losing one love and finding another. It was a book I really enjoyed reading and one that I would definitely recommend to contemporary lovers. 

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