Reut's Reviews > While He Was Away

While He Was Away by Karen Halvorsen Schreck
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Apr 25, 2012

it was ok
Read from May 02 to 05, 2012

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 book was just mediocre. Schreck is supposed to have a PhD in creative writing, and she also teaches it, but I didn't think her book would fall prey to terrible characterization and "meh" writing. Penna, our main character, was rather boring. At the beginning of the book, she takes a motorcycle ride with David before he's deployed, and randomly she yells out "Beauty is truth!" Girl tryna be a hipster? Maybe she should take lessons from my friend Hailey, who says things like, "I don't listen to weird music. The weirdest genre of music I listen to is goth folk."

That was nearly the most interesting thing she ever does. She is interested in art, yeah, but none of those plot lines were ever developed (likewise with an entire character who was just tossed in). The writing was also quite awkward, as I mentioned, and more than once the sentences just didn't make sense. I know I was reading an ARC, but these things felt like they were actually meant to be that way, they just... didn't make sense. Tomato, tomahto.

While He Was Away just couldn't figure out what it wanted to be, in my opinion. It had so much potential but I wish the characters, plot, emotions, etc. had been developed a lot more.
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Reading Progress

05/04/2012 page 70
28.0% 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Clementine i feel like i kind of hated this but i'm not sure


Kaitlyn Totally agree with this review, I thought it had a lot of potential but for me it just fell short.


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