Since the moment I heard about this book, I wanted to read it. I was very intrigued by that synopsis! It turned out to be a lot more than that.
Penna’s mom owns a restaurant and Penna begins working there for the summer after David leaves. There we meet a whole cast of characters that play significant roles in this book, each in their own respective ways. I loved the sense of family amongst them that is built in a place like that.
My favorite parts in this book are the ones with David and Penna. David and Penna are crazy for each other. Their love is so strong, it’s felt in these pages. And you might think that this book might be about cheating or about her messing up while he’s away, which is what I assumed at first, but it’s not, and I am glad it wasn’t.
While He Was Away opens a window into the life of a girl whose boyfriend has just gone off to war, and the struggles that come along with it. It tells the story of how she almost lost herself in the process. It’s important to not lose one’s identity in a relationship, even when the other person is not a million miles away fighting a war, but right next to you. It’s not your typical love story, but it leaves you with a feeling of hope.
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 anything come between us.
I can be an army girlfriend for one year. But will my sweet, soulful, funny David be the same person when he comes home? Will I? And what if he doesn’t come home at all..?
Why YA Rocks My World
So, as part of The Summer Lovin’ Blog Tour, I bring you this fantastic guest post by author of While He Was Away, Karen Schreck, on why YA rocks her world…I’d say it’s pretty spot on for all of us. :)
YA is hot.
As in steamy, sultry, blazing, scathing, illuminating, fiery, incendiary, spicy, enlightening, searing, scorching. A wildfire. A prairie burn. An inferno of characters, settings, plots. A refiner’s fire that draws out pure gold.
YA can also be cold.
As in chill, bitter, harsh, blustery, caustic, shivery, biting, hard-edged, cool. A frigid wind that dips below zero. A blizzardy drift of ideas and images. One snowflake never like the next. And once all hell freezes over, than YA can be the sharp-edged ax that breaks through the ice of your soul.
YA lit—good YA lit—is never, ever lukewarm.
Not in terms of content—the fearless stories told, the layers of meaning revealed.
Not in terms of character—these people live on the pages, and like most adolescents (or the adolescent in all of us, who lives on and on and on) their motivation frequently cuts to the quick: they are desperately trying to figure out just who in God’s name they are.
And YA lit is never, ever lukewarm or tepid in terms of voice—which is so driven by character, setting, and plot, and which defines each YA novel—that distinct, one-of-a-kind voice that speaks a book into existence, that prods and goads and compels a writer—me—to tell the story.
This is just a little bit of why YA rocks my world—why I love writing and reading books for teens. Or, supposedly for teens, since most street smart and literary savvy adults worth their salt know that Young Adult Fiction is among the best literature out and about today.