Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin


Title: If He Had Been With Me

Author: Laura Nowlin

# of Pages: 330

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: April 1st 2013

Source: Library

Rating: 2 Hearts




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 Verdict

It’s funny how we have certain expectations for a book when we’ve done nothing but see the cover and read the back cover. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting from this book, but I can say it ended up being nothing like how I imagined.


The story focuses on best friends, Finny & Autumn, who have known each other since before birth. Seriously, their moms are also best friends and would sit with their pregnant bellies together so the babys could kick each other. Now in highschool, we get to watch as Autumn and Finny’s relationship changes, they drift apart and back together again.


The timeline of this book was very strange. It spans all four years of highschool and also contains many memories of middle school and earlier. So much so that I felt I had know Autumn & Finny their whole lives.


While the story is about both Finny & Autumn, the focus is more on Autumn and is told from her point of view. She was extremely frustrating, always doing thing’s she didn’t want to do or saying things she didn’t mean. I really disliked her! Finny on the other hand, I loved! I mean how awesome is the name Phineas? Okay I may be biased because of my love for Phineas & Ferb but it just really stood out to me.


Even though you know how it’s going to end from the very first page, it still hits hard when it happens.

While I didn’t care much for the book overall,  I will say that it was very emotional, and quite powerful. I found myself thinking about it for a few nights after I finished, tortured by what had happened and how easily it could have been different had the characters just communicated with one another!


3 thoughts on “Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

  1. Ha! Her name is Autumn and I just read a book called Autumn. Weird coincidence or not…
    Ooh! That ending has me interested. I probably will get crushed by it but still. That timeline IS really weird. OMG I reread the end of the summary. I don't know if I would want to do that to myself… I think Autumn was under a lot of peer pressure maybe? Teenagers act stupid I know I did in High School. I wasn't mean but I made mistakes. This is a surprisingly convincing review for a book you gave two hearts. Maybe.

  2. I totally understand your complaints about this book. I haven't read it, but I've always been annoyed with book with weird timelines. Flashback/flash forward-ish timelines can work really well, but they can also kill a story if they aren't just right. I also hate characters (and people for that matter) who do things they don't want to do. But, somehow, I'm still really intrigued by this book. I want to get to know Finn and see what happens to him even though I know I'll just end up crying. I guess I might have to give this one a try 🙂

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