Book Review: While We Run (When We Wake #2) by Karen Healey

While We Run - Karen Healey

A copy of this novel was provided by Allen and Unwin in exchange for an honest review.


While We Run was so completely different to When We Wake. For one, our protagonist is Abdi, not Tegan. And boy do I have a lot to say about this boy.


Abdi’s character voice in While We Run is possibly one of the most unique that I have ever read. He’s bordering on being an unreliable narrator, simply because he is so very unemotional. He looks at everything from a mechanical viewpoint, and is always thinking about what he can do and who he can manipulate to get to his endpoint. It’s fascinating, and I want to read more books in this style (and more books about Abdi, let’s be honest here).


I think one of the most interesting things to read about from Abdi’s perspective regarded his feelings for Tegan. As I mentioned before, Abdi is not very emotional in his internal monologue and his thoughts about Tegan were no different. He feels betrayed by her throughout pretty much the whole novel because of this thing that she knew but couldn’t tell him, and then the repercussions that this withheld information brought upon Abdi (woo! That was hard to do without any spoilers *pats self on back*). And then when they’re reunited, Abdi is kind of sceptical of his feelings for Tegan. Does he really love her? Can he give her the things she wants and deserves? He doesn’t know, and I actually loved that. It wasn’t a book about how much a guy is in love with a girl. Yes, he cares about her but their world is falling apart, and there have been secrets and lies and confusion, and so he’s confused as well. It was very real to life, and I appreciated it very much.


Not a lot happens plot-wise in this novel, but I also liked that. It was really an exploration of the aftermath of the events that took place in When We Wake, which a lot of the time we don’t get in YA novels. It’s usually all: here’s a series of events and no you do not get to see what happens afterwards. So it was wonderful (and also really really depressing) to see what happened to Tegan and Abdi after they shared their information with the world.


The characters in While We Run were amazing. Some of them were heinous (looking at you, Diane you beeatch), some of them were confused (yes, you, Lat), some of them were out for their own power (HURFEST), and some of them were just plain shady (those guys towards the end). It was fantastic! I loved being introduced to such a wide range of flawed characters. Not everyone can be trusted, and not everyone is a decent human being and I felt like Healey really captured this in While We Run.


The ending was kind of open, but I can understand why. Whilst I would be ridiculously happy with another book to finally let us know if everything turns out okay, I am pleased with how this book ended. I am definitely a Healey fan and look forward to reading her other novels.


© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.


Your Turn: Have you ever read a novel with an unreliable or unemotional narrator? Do you think YA books should explore the aftermath more often?