Review: While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

While He Was AwayWhile He Was Away by Karen Schreck

Paperback, 249 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire

Synopsis From Goodreads:
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...?

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I have been putting off reviewing this book since I read it. There are parts that I really liked, and then there are parts that were just meh for me. I think that I was disappointed in this book because the synopsis was so misleading. I kept reading in the hope that it would get better and that something more would happen.

When we first meet Penna and David they are on a motorcycle ride together on the last day before David is deployed. Penna spends the next several days an emotional wreck as she waits to hear from David. Never mind that he has no way to communicate with her until he gets to base, she still sits by the phone and the computer waiting for him. Contact from David (when it does come) is sporadic and not at all satisfying for Penna. Penna then spends an enormous amount of effort to stay in constant contact with David's mother so they can share info when David contacts them. What bothered me about this was that Penna basically stops living for weeks while she waits for David to contact her. Her life completely revolved around when he will contact her next - like he isn't half a world away in the middle of a war zone. I really wanted her to be more understanding of David's situation.

From the synopsis I was expecting this book to be really emotional. Unfortunately, it really didn't do much for me. It had TONS of potential, but it would have helped if the plot had been streamlined and characters had been more developed. I felt that the emotional impact of David being gone got lost with all of the other storylines going on (Penna's relationship with her mom, the search for the long lost grandmother, new job, new friends, David's ex best friend). David being gone was the catalyst to throw Penna into all of those storylines. I believe I would have enjoyed the story if it had been more focused and not so all over the place.

It's not a bad book, and I ended up enjoying most of it. I just wish I could have connected with any of the characters. I also wish there had been more of a romantic aspect to add more emotion. Overall, there was so much promise, but this book really let me down. I truly wanted to care about David being gone, but I didn't really feel one way or another because he wasn't the focus of the book and he was not a developed character. I don't want to say anything bad, because it wasn't a terrible book. If it's something you think you will enjoy reading, then by all means, make sure you pick up a copy and read it.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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  1. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it; I've read a lot of reviews where they said it was misleading. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Great review!

  2. Sorry to hear you didn't like this as much as you were hoping. I've heard a lot of people say they weren't too impressed by this book, so I might wait a little while to read it.

    Thanks for the great review.


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