While He Was Away
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

While He Was Away

by
3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  1,182 ratings  ·  169 reviews
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 any...more
Paperback, 249 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Something like Normal by Trish DollerHeaven Is for Heroes by P.J. SharonIn Honor by Jessi KirbyWhile He Was Away by Karen Halvorsen SchreckJellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
YA / NA Characters in the Military
4th out of 29 books — 80 voters
Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiCinder by Marissa MeyerThe Broken Destiny by Carlyle LabuschagneIncarnate by Jodi MeadowsEverneath by Brodi Ashton
YA Debuts 2012
108th out of 427 books — 1,325 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
~Tina~
While He Was Away is a story about going through the motions of being an army-girlfriend and all the hopes and sorrow that comes with it.

Beautifully and powerfully portrayed, David and Penna's story really hit something deep within me. I was surprised how invested I was with these characters since David wasn't physically present throughout the story, but Karen Schreck did a great job of connecting us with him and what he's going through on the other side. All those little moments during the phon...more
Emily
*An ARC was provided by Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review*

First off, let me just say that I LOVE this cover. It is amazing. I mean, look at it. I love it. The girl is so pretty and the guy's back is totally cute! ;p Anyway, on to the review! :P

I loved it. I don't usually like books like these, but I loved it. It was like reading a Sarah Dessen book, only a little better. I've never read a book about the army before, and this was a great introduction to the genre. The idea was ama...more
Arlene
://:some spoilery involved in my review…

From the cover of While He Was Away, I fell hard for the concept of this book and the possibilities of where Penna’s story could lead, so it pains me to give it only 3 stars. However, I feel I’m justified in my rating because I truly feel this book is in serious need of an epilogue – a solid ending that gives us a glimpse of what unfolds after David comes back from the war in Iraq.

I’ve been called a lazy reviewer in the past, but does wanting a conclusive...more
Isamlq
Don’t let the pastel colored sunset fool you into thinking this is a love conquers all thing. This is not just some sweet love story of a couple seeing things through to their happily ever after. IT’S BETTER THAN THAT. Mainly because it’s more real but more importantly less dramatic about the goings on.

There’s no closely held dark secret to discover; there’s no big mystery to solve… here it’s more on learning to hold on. But, instead of holding on to each other, it’s really about holding on to...more
Kristen (Peddler of Smut)
Not for me due to the unhappy ending. I'm a Happily-Ever-After type of girl.
Taylor Poe
The books plot is mainly about a girl named Penna. Penna is 18 years old and she she has a boyfriend named David. David is also 18 years old. David and Penna are really close then David joins the army and has to be deployed to Iraq. Penna was heart broken the day that she and Davids family saw him off at the airport. For the longest time she didn't know what to do with herself. One day her and her mother went up into the attic and Penna found an old photograph of her grandmother Justine, so whi...more
Justin
While He Was Away ended up being much more than I had first anticipated. I knew it was going to be a story about a couple being separated due to the guy going off to war. But I wasn't quite expecting the other things I found within this book. I was really impressed that Karen put a lot of effort into trying to figure out how people that are going through this with the Iraq war are impacted. I've never dealt with having a love one at war, nor can I imagine how it must feel. But from reading this...more
Reut
Originally reviewed on reutreads, a young adult book blog.

*2.5 stars

You guys, I love learning about new things in my contemporary. It happens in Joan Bauer novels, it happens in John Green books, it happens in Ally Carter books, and it is awesome. Whether those things are shoes or stocks or spies, I love learning in books. Which is part of the reasons why I like this whole Marine/Army sub-genre I see starting in YA. So now we have a book like While He Was Away.

Guys, I'm sad to say this, but this...more
Vox
Have you ever forced yourself to read a book, hoping that it will get better?

Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. In the case of Karen Schreck's While He Was Away, it just didn't get better. At least not for me.

I really struggled to get into this book. I tried to care about Penna and David, she an 18-year-old on the cusp of her senior year of high school and he a high school graduate fresh out of boot camp and headed to Iraq. But you know it's bad when you hope the hero gets injured during...more
H.Lee
This book brought on many different emotions. Sadness, pride, love, fear, just to name a few.

Sadness

I felt sad for Penna. She was losing the one person who kept her stable. The one person that she felt that she could count on. He was leaving and it was very scary for her not knowing when she would see him again.

Pride

David was sure that he wanted to serve in the military. He had described it “as the right thing to do.” I was very proud that a young man made such an important decision and still fe...more
Majibookshelf Juhina & Farah
I had hopes that While He Was Away would be an eye opening, emotional experience for me, but unfortunately, it was not that. I understood it was about a girl's boyfriend being drafted and going off to Iraq, and the struggles she will be facing once he was gone. However, throughout the whole book I did not feel any emotional connection towards Penna. I felt like there were too many things going on in the book. Unnecessary things that do not have any relation to the main plot of the book but were...more
Evie
***Originally posted to: Bookish Book Blog |YA and Adult Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Guest Posts, Giveaways and news! ^___^



When I first heard about this book, I was hesitant to pick it up. Mainly because of its premise. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read a novel about teenage sweethearts separated by war. I admit, I was afraid that it would be either cheesy or over-dramatic, and I definitely didn't need another Hurt Locker. But then the reviews started pouring in, and they were all so gushy...more
Juhina
I had hopes that While He Was Away would be an eye opening, emotional experience for me, but unfortunately, it was not that. I understood it was about a girl's boyfriend being drafted and going off to Iraq, and the struggles she will be facing once he was gone. However, throughout the whole book I did not feel any emotional connection towards Penna. I felt like there were too many things going on in the book. Unnecessary things that do not have any relation to the main plot of the book but were...more
GW
So confused - uh, was that an ending? Not gonna lie, I didn't feel like that was an ending. It didn't conclude for me... I felt like I was left on a cliffhanger - even though this is a stand alone book (?) I guess it's one of those books where you don't really find out what happens in the end? Greeeaat!

Anyways, I did like it. But I felt so frustrated at times because this is a story about Peena and what happens when her boyfriend's away at war. The ending didn't help me out at all, and (view spo...more
Bips
I loved this story. From the moment I started reading it, it sucked me right in. I don't usually like books like these and I have no idea what attracted me to read this one, but I just loved it. I sobbed almost through the whole story.

I loved the cover. The cover pretty much perfectly captures this couple and the emotions they are going through.

I loved David, though we have seen very little of him in this book, I really liked him.
Penna is portrayed as such a strong character, I loved her almost...more
Zemira Warner
I knew I shouldn't read this book. I knew it!

This book definitely isn't for those who want things to happen. LOL I know,this sounds weird,but nothing was happening. That's why it took me a couple of days to finish it. I felt bad for Penna and I feel bad for the real women who are waiting for their boyfriends/husbands/brothers to come back home.
Devyani
to be honest , i was unable to get inside the book . it didn't interest me much and it felt forced for when i picked up my tablet to read it .
and that for me is Not Cool .

Maybe i'll read it some other time , until then this book is not for me .
Lianna
1 and 1/2 stars.

This book didn't keep my interest and it just ended on a cliffhanger type of note. It was so slow and just a bore. I feel like I'm forgetting what even happened in this book as I type this.
Emily AKA Doodle
Review originally posted at Doodle's Book Blog


My reason for picking up While He Was Away is simple: two teenage sweethearts separated by war and distance. I've made it my goal this year to read all of the YA military related books that are being released. Why? Because my brother has been deployed three times and I know what I go through when he leaves. While He Was Away didn't go exactly as I thought it would, but it held my attention and took me along for a ride I'll never forget.

David and Penn...more
Mitchii
2.5/5

I tried to like this book. But in the end, we didn’t get along.

I don’t have a huge expectations with While He Was Away, I just wanted a light read, maybe some drama, or romance. So I decide to read this one last night. But for something that is short, I noticed that it was taking me a while to get there. Until I realized I will never get to my desired endpoint. The reality is the book and I have different destination.

I ‘get’ the story but I failed to connect to everything there was to conne...more
Hannah
Mar 11, 2012 Hannah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I was so, so excited to read While He Was Away - I love the whole idea, and it looked right up my alley. I hate when I'm disappointed by a book I had such high hopes for, but sadly, that's the case with While He Was Away. I wouldn't say it's a bad book, but it didn't live up to my expectations.

While He Was Away turned out to be a little different from what I'd expected. I'm not sure why - maybe because of the last sentence of the description - but I thought it would be about the time when David...more
Maddy
Penna Weaver’s boyfriend, David, is leaving for Iraq for a year. Sure, long distance relationships are tough. But they were gonna make it work. They were gonna write, call, email, they won’t let anything come between them, right? It’s only a year. David was going away to fight and protect his country, he was putting his life before everything. But a lot can change in a year. Penna could change. David could change. What if David was never to return home? Penna has to learn to deal with these que...more
Brenna
While He Was Away had such a description that instantly stood out to me, and I knew it was one I would want to read once it came out. But I was utterly taken back when I was reading it, because it was so much more moving and striking than I ever thought it would be.

Reasons to Read:

1.A sympathetic story:

I've never been in either David or Penna's position, so I can't speak for a minute to what they went through as he left for Iraq. I have no idea what that would be like for a couple, but I have t...more
Angel
You can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!

Source: ARC received from publisher

Tell Me More:Whirlwind romances, summer flings, desperate Romeo/Juliet situations--they're the stuff of teenage dreams and wishes. I'd be lying if I said I never wanted any of those things, and most people can attest to the same. There's something about being a teenager that makes one feel as though anything is possible and everything is open to you. Interestingly enough, the tag line for this novel...more
Windy
my casting for Penna and David  photo 9809018f_zps6b8b48e0.jpg  photo TaylorLautner83_zps74411d2c.jpgthis was a 3.5 stars for me was a beautiful heartbreaking at times story a look at how girlfriends of a soilder deals and supports her solider the only thing that made it not not higher stars is i would have loved the book to go through the whole year and have David come back to have a HEA i really wanted to see that but it just kinda ended and was a little diapointed in that would have really liked to see this  photo ZackandI-1_zpsb0c2aa8b.jpg
04TrishB
Whirlwind romances, summer flings, desperate Romeo/Juliet situations–they’re the stuff of teenage dreams and wishes. I’d be lying if I said I never wanted any of those things, and most people can attest to the same. There’s something about being a teenager that makes one feel as though anything is possible and everything is open to you. Interestingly enough, the tag line for this novel is in that same optimistic vein: “Love can conquer any distance…right?” But While He Was Away suffers from much...more
Kassiah
I've been flip-flopping on exactly what to say about this book since I read it. There are parts that I absolutely loved. And there are parts (like the end)--not so much.

I loved the cover. A lot of times, the cover doesn't match the book or what I think the couple looks like. This isn't the case with this book. The cover pretty much perfectly captures this couple and the emotions they are going through.

I felt like the Summary was a little misleading though: She knows in her heart he will come hom...more
Eileen
Check out more of my reviews at my blog, ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***!

While He Was Away is a perfect read for those who are or were army girlfriends or boyfriends. It's a sweet story that portrays how a couple in love and what happens when they're forced apart. From the synopsis, I thought it would be an extremely heart-wrenching story that was extremely emotional, and while I'm sure many people thought that, I didn't really get that opinion from the story. I think it was because, as st...more
Ilene
The cover is beautiful...that is about ALL the nice things I have to say about the book.

I need a HEA BUT the very least I need some type of completion. Even if its sad, I may not like it but something is better then nothing. This story had so much potential with Daniel and Penna. But then all the other characters. The story was way more about Justine. I get the symbolism/parallels between Owen & Justine to Daniel & Penna's relationships.

To me thus book was a cliffdangler, yes that's ri...more
Shaikha J 140A571
A love story between a guy called David and a girl called Pena , They are 18 years old ,David join the army and he have to go to Iraq war for months and leave his girl friend alone. David was sending a letters for Pena everyday and Pena answer his letters . David's letters were too short , he tell her that he is fine and so on but Pena want him to tell her more such as, what he eat and when and why and where ! all these questions were in Pena's mind. She miss him a lot and she tell him that in e...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Summer of No Regrets
  • Waiting
  • The Summer My Life Began
  • Kiss the Morning Star
  • Pretty Amy (Pretty Amy, #1)
  • Flirting in Italian (Flirting in Italian #1)
  • The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life
  • Just Flirt
  • The Waiting Sky
  • Blue Sky Days
  • Where It Began
  • When You Open Your Eyes
  • Unbreak My Heart
  •  A Long Way from You
  • First Comes Love (First Comes Love, #1)
  • Being Friends with Boys
  • When You Were Mine
  • Last Summer
Karen Halvorsen Schreck's next novel, SING FOR ME, is due out from Simon & Schuster/Howard Books in April 2014. She is also the author of the young adult novel WHILE HE WAS AWAY (Sourcebooks Fire), which was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, 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 reci...more
More about Karen Halvorsen Schreck...
Dream Journal Sing for Me Lucy's Family Tree  Hold Me Forever Howard Books Fiction Esampler: A Free Sampling of Spring 2014 Fiction Titles

Share This Book

“If you love something, let it go...” 65 likes
“We shouldn’t wait too long for anything or anyone that we really care about.” 13 likes
More quotes…