Customer Reviews for

If He Had Been with Me

Average Rating 4.5
( 99 )
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(66)

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(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

I've been dreading writing the review for this book. As soon as

I've been dreading writing the review for this book. As soon as I finished it, my biggest fear was HOW am I going to write my review for this? It's definitely difficult, but here I go. The main protagonist of this book, Autumn, is the awkward child. Autumn lives with he...
I've been dreading writing the review for this book. As soon as I finished it, my biggest fear was HOW am I going to write my review for this? It's definitely difficult, but here I go. The main protagonist of this book, Autumn, is the awkward child. Autumn lives with her mom, and her dad visits for holiday's and weekly dinners from time to time. Autumn's mother is best friends with their neighbor, and the two are mentioned as "The Mothers" throughout the book. Being neighbors all their lives, Autumn and Finn (Who Autumn calls Finny) were inseparable. They were born the same month and same year. Their mothers were best friends since childhood. They completely did everything together, and couldn't imagine being separated when they were kids. In middle school, they somehow started drifting apart. Finny became more of the chill, popular guy, while Autumn stayed as the awkward child. They each that their own "clique". What's funny is that Finny and Autumn families still celebrate every christmas, thanksgiving, and any other family event together. Talk about awwwkward... The Mothers definitely found it weird that Autumn and Finny wouldn't speak to each other at those events, but decided not to say anything about it. The thing is Finny was never mean to Autumn, and vice versa. It was SO hard for me to read about a friendship like theirs drifting away. As we read through the book, we're taken about 4 years back, before the accident. 
As I read on and on, my heart was LITERALLY breaking into pieces. The way Laura Nowlin was able to grasp a perfect reality such as this, was breathtaking. The simple yet important things friends did was what she spotlighted. I loved it. Despite the book being throughout high school, there were many flashbacks in order to explain to us how precious and important their friendship was. Reading on, I started to think of the fictional characters, as NON fictional. I just couldn't believe how real they felt to me, like they were a part of my personal life. Just thinking about them now makes me feel like I've lost two of my best friends. I think the thing that got to me was how sad it was to see such a friendship as theirs drift apart. I was crazy with questions like why, and who was the one at fault, and WHYYYY? I was seriously depressed at that point. I remember on page 264, I read that page about five times, bawling my eyes out. Not because it was sad, but no, it was such a simple yet beautiful page. I mean yes, it's still sad that they aren't good friends, but oh God, I don't even know how to explain it. 
The annoying thing is that while I was reading, I had his death at the back of my head. No, I didn't spoil anything, it's in the synopsis. Whenever I read something about Finny, I loved him more, and thinking that he was going to die just shattered my heart into pieces. I didn't even want to finish the book because of that reason. I start crying every time I remember that he dies, and I would keep hoping that maybe, just maybe, Laura Nowlin just wanted to trick us. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I'm still glad I finished the book, because in someways, it was happy. Like Autumn would say, death can be happy sometimes. I know, it might sound weird, but she's right. This book, in my opinion, is a masterpiece. It will always be a part of my heart, because to me it's not just a book, but more like a memory I want to treasure forever. I thank Laura Nowlin SO much for letting me find a treasure as great as this. The writing style for this book was just exquisite. I will definitely treasure it forever. There's also a quote that Autumn said, that just literally described my feelings for this book:
“This book is a treasure; I did not suspect it would be so good when I picked it up, but now I can feel the printed words seeping through my skin and into my veins, rushing to my heart and marking it forever. I want to savour this wonder, this happening of a loving book and reading it for the first time, because the first time is always the best, and I will never read this book for the first time again” - If He Had Been With Me, Laura Nowlin

posted by majibookshelf on May 14, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

I really, really wanted to fall in love with this novel. It came

I really, really wanted to fall in love with this novel. It came off to a good start with the beautiful, poetic imagery of the opening scene. It's a dark contemporary, and I have a good dark contemporary. Especially if it makes me cry. Then it takes out out of the openi...
I really, really wanted to fall in love with this novel. It came off to a good start with the beautiful, poetic imagery of the opening scene. It's a dark contemporary, and I have a good dark contemporary. Especially if it makes me cry. Then it takes out out of the opening scene back into the past--all the way back to the beginining.
A lot of the backstory is needed to understand Finn and Autumn's relationship. However, I didn't want to go through all of high school with them when I already knew the outcome. (Finn's going to die. It's laid out clearly for us.) It was interesting at first to learn about their childhood, and I was curious about why they stopped hanging out together. Even if they fell into different social spheres in middle and high school, they have a long history of friendship that isn't easily overcome by social barriers. However, the story ends up stagnating and dragging on, and I skimmed much of the latter half of the story looking for answers that didn't come until the end of the novel.
What I'd been hoping to see was more of what happens to Autumn after Finn's death, or at least see their story closer to the time of his death instead of reliving high school with her. It might have been an interesting story, but Autumn is a hard-to-pin-down narrator. Much of the story seems to be summarized, as Autumn doesn't really let us get into her head. She keeps much of the important details about herself, her relationships, and her feelings bottled up within her. Finn is a more open character, and though Autumn is the one narrating the story, it's easier to understand him.
Overall, the beginning and the end are what made the story for me. While there was a lot of potential to the story as a whole, I wasn't able to relate to Autumn enough for the story to click with me, which is important in a story as character driven as this one is. Nevertheless, it is finding a fan-base, and readers who enjoy a contemporary tragic love story may enjoy this one.

posted by ImaginaryReads on June 1, 2013

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 99 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Im Sad

    This book is good but its really sad and it made me cry in some of the chapters but besides this i liked the book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Good quick read

    I found this book to be an enjoyable read. I think that a lot of people can relate to the changes in relationships as we grow older. I enjoyed the backstory but thought that going through all of high school was a bit much for me. I would suggest if need a quick read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Fav book now

    I read this book and couldnt stop. I finished in a day because it is such a quick read. New fav book now.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    I fell in love with Autumn and Finny, this book is so fabulous a

    I fell in love with Autumn and Finny, this book is so fabulous and would recommend it to everyone! I read it over, and , over again. It amazes me every single time. It
    s a beautiful book. There's so much more to say, but I don't want to ruin it. So, definitely a MUST READ!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    Entertaining -Simple Read

    The end of the book is expected, however, I couldn't put it down. It is a book you can get lost in, and after finishing it you continue to ponder the story and the lives of the characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2014

    This book was beautifully written and I expect that a movie will

    This book was beautifully written and I expect that a movie will be made of it sooner or later.  I am an adult woman but felt the book really was written for  young adult readers of the Twilight genre.  It's been a long time since I've hd the teenage feelings that consume these characters.  The book remind me of Jodi Piccoult's Nineteen Minutes.  The boy loves the girl, but the girl  has moved beyond him with her friendships.  The endings were similar, although Piccoult's character is in prison after committing  a deadly school shooting.  Nineteen Minutes had me blubbering inconsolably at the end, while this story left  me just thinking "What a waste." 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    Beautiful and heartwrenching

    Loved this book! Beautiful and tragic at the same time. This is a book I will not forget?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    highly recommend

    I am an adult who enjoys ya fiction books. This one was as good as it gets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    I would never recommend this book to any of my friends. (Slight

    I would never recommend this book to any of my friends. (Slight spoiler alert) The ending was terrible, if I could give an award for the worst way to end a good book I would give it to Lauren Nowlin. It was a great book and it felt like she thought of the worst ending she could and typed it up. Again I would never recommend this book to anyone I liked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2014

    Perfection

    While reading this book. My thoughts would drift to my own childhood sweetheart. So beautifully written. I cried at the end. I felt as if I had just lost my own friend. This book portrays how it feels to have a childhood friend become a childhood sweetheart. Trust me I know how it feels. And she put what I only thought into words. For that I will never forget this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    !!!!

    One of the best books I've ever read! I fell in love with the characters and had my heart ripped out. THIS IS A MUST READ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    So does he die?

    So by the description and all the reviews im guessing he dies? Screw that i dont want to read it then. Too depressing for me.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    ...

    This story took me by surprise and not only is the story enthralling but the characters come to life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    I tried

    As a reader I typically enjoy this type of book. I thought that the characters were well developed and the story held a lot of appeal. However I feel that some events in this book could be negatively influential to the target audience. Unprotected sex is not something to be taken lightly, however multiple times the characters ignore common sense not to mention health risks. I would have given this book more credit otherwise.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Decent

    The storyline was good, I remember losing my bf as we found different friends, but as luck would have it we got back in touch about ten years ago.
    Now this story though it resonates, it is extremely slow going, and if it is slow going for a mature ( yes my friends would laugh at any of us being considered mature) audience then it will be a lot harder to keep someone younger from just giving up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    adison

    Hey

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2014

    What might have been . . .

    Always the question of "What If?" This story of love provides that ultimate question. What life would we have had? What if love does not survive?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Ending too short

    Great book but the ending was rushed. We need more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    "If He Had Been With Me" Book Review

    If he had been with me was an amazing book. It explained what can happen if you ignore your true feelings. The novel has suspense but is also full of heart-felt romance, sorrow and a little action here and there. And of course it has drama.
    Young Autumn and Finny have been together all their life, slowly growing apart during middle school to hardly talking to each other in highschool. They find their social groups and just move on. Finny starts dating Sylive as Autumn sparks a romance with Jamie. As Autumn walks us through her highschool life we learn about how depressed she is. Knowing she has feelings for another but still loving Jamie at the same time. But then Autumns friend Alex gets pregnant. This is when things start falling apart. Sasha who is Autumns best friend then stirs things up and causes Autumn heartbreak but also clarity. By having Sasha break Autumn and Jamie up, Autumn then realizes she is in-love with Finny, who may be in love with her. After a few weeks of Finny and Autumn hanging out day after day they finally admit their feelings and share a night together. But Finny still has to break things off with Sylive. One drive destroys Autumn forever. By losing the only person Autumn really loves, she is driven to madness, so she decides to end it all and join Finny once again. But her acts fail and Autumn is found almost dead. Waking up in a hospital and remembering everything. All the memories slowly coming back, the sorrow, the pain, and then the questions. Now Autumn discovers she may possibly be pregnant. She dreams of Alex's little girl playing with Autumns baby, moving in with her mother and working at a dinner. But the one thing that's missing is Finny but Autumn knows that a baby could stop her from ever trying to end things, and it may help her recover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Amazing.

    I will read this over and over again because it was so amazing.

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