Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been With Me

Author: Laura Nowlin

Publication Date: April 1st, 2013

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary



If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died. Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if... The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.

My Thoughts: Why, why, why do I do this to myself?? I mean, you read that first line of the synopsis. What do you think is going to happen. It clearly states that he dies. So do I believe it? No, I try to talk myself into believing otherwise. I know it's going to happen but still allow myself to get attached to him. It's like I was reading If I Stay again, in a way. A lot less crying though in this case but crying none the less. Not just tears silently running down my face either. No, these were ugly, chin wobbling, runny nose, sobbing cries that make you have to stop, set the book down and cry into your pillow. Luckily, my husband was pre-occupied with a movie and headphones, so he didn't have to witness my emotional overload due to a book, I'm sure it would have amused him though. Even though this book tore my heart out and stomped on it a few times, I'm still in love with it. I couldn't put it down, except when sobbing, and was in denial for the majority of the book. Especially towards the end. I just couldn't believe that Nowlin would do that to me. Still, I was warned in advance, so I can only blame myself for the false hope.

So the protagonist is Autumn. She starts out even telling you in the first paragraph that he died. Clearly I decided to ignore her as well. She tells the story of everything that went wrong with her and Finn's relationship. How they grew apart. I got sucked into the story and got attached to both of them. I couldn't help but like Autumn because she was weird, like I was (although I didn't wear tiaras every day) and I had a great group of geeky friends. So she was a bit of an outcast, making her easy to relate with.

Finn is absolutely amazing. He does do a few things that aren't so cool, but you can tell he's completely in love with Autumn. Even if she is clueless to it. He is a guy that I could have totally fallen for in high school. He's sweet, devoted, somewhat shy, smart, hot and a soccer player! He's just so nice to everyone and sticks up for Autumn, even when they aren't talking.

Overall, this is a great emotional read. I certainly enjoyed it. I love the characters, the writing style and the story is just amazing. Even though you know what's going to happen in the end, it's really easy to forget. Or maybe it was the fact that I knew something bad was going to happen that I just couldn't help but keep reading. I had to know how it happened. I won't say it has a happy ending, because it doesn't but the ride to the end is amazing. The story is very realistic I think. This is a story that could happen and probably has before (as sad as that is to think). I will most definitely be recommending this one! It is an amazing debut novel! Besides, who doesn't need a nice ugly cry once in awhile?


  1. I'm excited to read this now! It sounds like a really great story and I love a good contemporary. :)

    Great review, Jenn!

    1. Thanks! I also love good contemporaries! I hope you like it as much as me!

  2. Sounds better than I thought it would be!! I'm definitely down to read it now :)


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