Review: While He Was Away


“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 stay. 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?

Once again, I ended up reading this based mainly on the cover. It immediately caught my interest, and after I read the summary I was even more excited. It sounded so different from many of the typical contemporary romances. Plus I am always intrigued by stories dealing with soldiers. This definitely lived up to my expectations, and I found it a delightful read.

Penna is a fantastic main character. She is altogether relatable, and I found her attitude towards life to be fantastic. I admired her drive and her desire to do what she felt she needed to do. The relationship between her and David was sweet, quite romantic. David was harder to get to know, since he was absent for much of the actual book. I did like him though, from what we got to know. Ravi was fantastic, but I wish he had played more of a role. All of the characters were wonderful really.

I expected this to have a stronger romance than it did. Penna and David’s relationship is a big part of the story, but there is so much more to it than that. Family also plays a significant role, and Penna’s journey to reconnect with her grandmother was quite heartwarming. I also loved that while Penna’s relationship with David was important, she also learned that she needed to really become her own person.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. Although it was not quite what I expected, it surprised me in a good way. Penna was a wonderful character, and I absolutely loved her. The relationship between her and David was wonderfully drawn, and I loved the way it developed. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.

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