In Review: While You’re Away (While You’re Away #1) by Jessa Holbrook

Posted November 23, 2013 by Kim in 4 Stars, In Review / 0 Comments

In Review: While You’re Away (While You’re Away #1) by Jessa HolbrookWhile You're Away by Jessa Holbrook
Series: While You're Away #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: eARC, 48 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating:

Once a cheater, always a cheater? 

From the moment Will and Sarah first set eyes upon each other, they know that what they have is special.

There's just one little problem . . . each of them already has a significant other.

After flirting with danger, it becomes clear their passion is too strong to be denied. But even if they make their relationship official, there are plenty of challenges in store. Will leaves for college at the end of the summer, while Sarah faces her senior year of high school in their small suburban town. Long-distance relationships always come with their fair share of troubles—mismatched schedules, jealousy, and temptation are only the beginning.

Can cheaters ever change?

WHILE YOU'RE AWAY is a steamy story about a love triangle, a long-distance relationship, and learning the true meaning of commitment.


in review my thoughts

“Was it just me?”
“It wasn’t just you.”

This was a great little series-starting novella. Jessa Holbrook did exactly what she should have done with this novella: hooked me. At 48 pages this was a ridiculously quick read. I devoured it. It was well-written with realistic dialogue and great characters that I connected with easily. Funny at times, sweet and sexy at other times, it was a great escape.

“Though his touch skimmed like a feather, it felt like a kiss. A whispered secret that carried an unexpected shot of heart. Caught short, I held a breath as I burned from the inside out. That urgent, animal reaction held me in place.”

I really liked Sarah. The story is told from her POV, so readers learn a lot about her through her internal dialogue. She’s in a relationship with Dave, her music partner, but she’s insecure. Dave goes a little “rock god” and seems to enjoy their fans’ (especially pretty female ones) attention a little more than Sarah is comfortable with. She meets Will, the biggest player in their school, one night after a performance. They had a strong, immediate attraction to each other. Will was swoony. Flawed, but swoony. Sarah sees more under his playboy exterior and I can’t wait to learn more myself.

“I didn’t care that we were basically strangers. That I’d never been like this with anybody. That this was probably wrong. In fact, that seemed to be a reason to keep going. I’d seen a Will no one else had seen. The secret in his pale eyes, the real him that he shrouded in big smiles and lazy flirtation.”

I do feel like the blurb is a little misleading, however. Readers should be aware this isn’t a full story as the blurb suggests. The majority of the first book centers on Sarah and Will’s first meeting and the powerful connection they feel with each other, despite the fact that they are each in a relationship with someone else. It also deals with the guilt Sarah feels for her actions that night and the start of her “affair” with Will. I have very mixed feelings about cheating in books, but it was hard NOT to connect with Sarah and Will and cheer for them, given the obvious chemistry they have. But if you’re sensitive about cheating in books, you might want to steer clear of this one.

“This felt like the beginning of something. A seduction that dared me to imagine what might come next. I felt like I’d be waiting for this. Needing it, without even knowing it.”

If, however, you believe sometimes people are just meant to be together, despite their current situation, and that nothing can stop destiny, this could be the series for you. (Of course, I say this after reading only the first novella and having no idea where the story ultimately ends up. But I have my hopes.) If you’re a fan of the passion and intensity of young love, even when it comes with some angst and turmoil, definitely pick this one up. I have the other five novellas in this series all queued up on my iPad. I can’t wait to read more!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All quotes come from the review copy and may differ from the final version. 

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About Jessa Holbrook

Jessa Holbrook is a pseudonym for author Saundra Mitchell. She comes from a very small town that happened to have a very big library. When she was six, she fell in love with the stacks and decided to read her way from one end to the other. More than a few years later, she’s still working on it. She’s so in love with books that she also made them her career—and she admits, she cheats on the book she’s reading in the bedroom with the novel she left in the basement. Neither of them know about the clandestine affair she’s enjoying with the tome hiding in her kitchen cupboard.

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