Review: While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

Title: While He Was Away
Author: Karen Schreck
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
ebook, 256 pages
ISBN: 140226402X (ISBN13: 9781402264023)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

My thoughts:
While He Was Away by Karen Schreck is an emotional journey of a young girl named, Penna,and her life after she bids her boyfriend, bound for Iraq, goodbye.  Penna and her mom have moved from place to place until they settled into her estranged parents house. It was love at first sight for Penna and David. They fell in love over art. David is Penna's world. However before David met Penna he signed up with the National Reserves. The story begins after he comes back from basic training. Penna tries so hard to be everything that David would need. However it's after David leaves where the story really begins.
Even though Penna is in high school her feelings for David are intense.It's as if they are connected.  After David leaves she falls into a sort of depression. Her mother anxious to get Penna out of the house gives her a job at their family restaurant. However the summer has more to offer Penna than just a job and missing her boyfriend. She finds an old picture of her grandmother who left Penna's mom when she was just a girl. Penna feels an instant connection to this woman she's never met.
This is a powerful story about coping with change. Penna and David are changed by their circumstances and experiences. The book is an emotional roller coaster. The author really gives you a sense of the emotions that Penna experiences throughout this novel. Schreck gives a good account at what it must be like to have a loved one in the military. She also focuses on the strength that friends and family can give. As well as the power of forgiveness and letting go. This is a highly enjoyable book that will bring tears to your eyes.
My rating:
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