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

While You're Away Part 1 by Jessa Holbrook

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?

I received part 1 of While You’re Away from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the first part of a serialized novel, with part 1 released on October 15, 2013, and another part to be released each week through November 19.

At the time I’m writing the review, the first two parts have been released, but I’m only reviewing the first part, the one I received from Netgalley. I’d rather read the whole book at once, so I’ll probably wait until the rest of the parts are out and read them all then. The synopsis above covers the whole book.

Sarah and her boyfriend Dave are a band, performing locally at high school parties and bar mitzvahs. Dave’s the more outgoing half of their relationship and musical partnership, leaving Sarah feeling left out after performances while he works the crowd — especially the female half. One night, a combination of jealousy and social awkwardness sends Sarah into Will’s arms. She knows it’s wrong, but it feels so right.

I think we can all agree that cheating is bad, right? That’s a given. It’s easy to sympathize with the one who’s cheated on. While You’re Away gives us a look at the other side, the cheater’s side. It’s written in the first person, so we get to know Sarah’s thoughts, from that first kiss to whatever happens next.

I’m still not saying that cheating is right. I don’t even know if I like Sarah with Will yet (This is SO SHORT!) or if I would if cheating wasn’t involved. One thing I really like is that when Sarah confesses to her friend Jane, Jane wants to know the details, but she also says that it’s not cool and that Sarah should do it again. I think Jane is going to be supportive of her best friend, but (hopefully) not support the cheating.

It’s hard for me to rate such a short piece of a book, but I really like what I’ve read of While You’re Away. I’m definitely going to read the entire book. I want to see how Will and Sarah’s relationship progresses, what happens when they get caught cheating (because you KNOW they will get caught), and whether they can make it through their physical separation, the guilt of cheating, and the reactions of their friends, families, and Will’s girlfriend/Sarah’s boyfriend.

4 stars