Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)'s Reviews > While He Was Away

While He Was Away by Karen Halvorsen Schreck
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Apr 13, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 13 to 15, 2012

I LOVE this cover. I think that the colors are beautiful and the couple embracing adds just the right touch for the story.
While this story wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it was good. I liked the idea of exploring the ramifications of having a military boyfriend and how that effects you and your life. I also liked the glimpses into what David's life is like in Iraq. It seems really well researched and while I still can't imagine how our soldiers do it, I can relate with the emotions and with the vivid imagery.
I think that Penna is a likable character, and I connected with her. I wish that I would have been shown more the relationship and how it built with David, but as is, I can still root for their love story to have a happy ending and understand how their emotions grew. I know that the story is more about him being away, and how he's changing as he's deployed. Ms. Schreck does a good job relaying Penna's emotions and it helps a bit to imagine what the wives and girlfriends are going through.
The other secondary characters are well done in my opinion. I liked the mystery that unfolds between Penna's mom Linda and her grandma Justine. I can see Penna's intrigue with why Justine left and feeling that connection since she also had a loved one go to war. She doggedly searches down her grandma and I appreciate how they end up being there for one another. I also appreciated Tom's strength and character.
I also wanted more of Ravi. I am not sure how else he could have played into the story except as the supporter and long lost friend that he was, but I appreciated his shyness and his ability to overcome.
Somehow though, I wanted this story to be more complete, and if there is a sequel, then that is problem completely solved. I mean, things were wrapped up well enough I suppose, but I wanted more development and to know how my characters fared.
That said, the plot is solid, the characters well done, and once I opened the book, I did not want to put it down.


For more of my reviews, check out Blkosiner’s YA and Teen Book Blog:
http://blkosiner.blogspot.com
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