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If He Had Been with Me

Average Rating 4.5
( 101 )
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5 Star

(68)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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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 1 – 20 of 101 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 6
  • Posted May 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    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 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

    27 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 11, 2013

    I absolutely loved this book!!!!!! And I totally cried at the en

    I absolutely loved this book!!!!!! And I totally cried at the end. It broke my heart and I will never forget this book. Ones like these don't come around very often.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 1, 2013

    emotional

    What a stroy. I cant explain it- This book made me have anxiety because I knew the ending, but I could not put it down. I wanted to know there story. This is one of those books that will stay with you; just like Fall Into You By Jasinda Wilder and Hopeless by Collen Hoover.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Perfect

    I loved it and i suggest it to any and every one. I read this book in 4 hours.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 5, 2013

    When you're aware of how it ends and still read the book anyway,

    When you're aware of how it ends and still read the book anyway, you know it's amazing. This book was definitely amazing! Beautiful and tragic. I'm dying to see what else Laura Nowlin is capable of!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    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 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.

    6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Sweet, Warm, Yet Tragic Love Story

    Autumn and Finn are affable, intelligent, and witty friends since babyhood . Now in high school, they navigate cliques and dating, but not each other. The reader and most characters know they belong together, and yet Nowlin has let us know at the start that it is not to be, so tension and love for the characters build as I read. I didn't want the book to end. This is billed as YA fiction but I'm in my 50's and loved it!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Talk about tears

    Talk about tears! This book was so sad at the end nearly cried for an hour! If you want more tears and thrills, try "silver wolf." that story is truly amazing. The thrills, romance, ad suspense will have you at the end of your seat. I recomend it for 10 and up. TRULY AMAZING!!!!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Anonymous

    Amazing. This book is truely amazing. The author went so in depth with the main character and i just loved her personality. My heart was breaking at the end. Other reviews spoiled it for me before i even started the book but that doesnt matter because once i started reading i forgot all about those reviews and just focused on the book. Im not super emotional with books and i will say i didnt cry because i was simply in awe of the book. My heart breaks for the characters, i havent ever had that happen to me. BEAUTIFUL BOOK. 6 stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 26, 2013

    If He Had Been With Me

    This book is so amazing. I re-read 3 times and each time hit

    me harder than the one before it. Ve never expirienced a book this sad. Laura Nowlin Is an amazing Author. I hope to become an Amazing Author Just Like Her.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 25, 2013

    I absolutely loved this book until the ending. I felt like the a

    I absolutely loved this book until the ending. I felt like the author was trying to end the book too quickly and so everything felt rushed. Also, there was some "events" towards the end that I personally didn't agree with and that I felt were dealt with too lightly.
    The romance was cute in the beginning and middle of the book and I loved Autumn's voice, but this book was just NOT for me. 
     

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 28, 2013

    Awesome

    Started out slow and i wasnt very interested but loved it in the end

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2013

    I enjoyed reading this book.  It was a page turner.  I didn't re

    I enjoyed reading this book.  It was a page turner.  I didn't read beforehand the age group this was intended for, but it was a good reminder of my high school years and all the stumbling blocks everyone faces.  I recommend this book for a quick weekend read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    I just read ¿If He Had Been With Me¿ by Laura Nowlin¿.All I can

    I just read “If He Had Been With Me” by Laura Nowlin….All I can say is wow. Though written from the perspective of a young high school girl, it takes you on a journey into the invisible lines that we all draw in this world, and how those lines shape and define all of us, no matter our age. She tells a fantastic “story behind the story”…full of insight into the human condition, delving way beyond the black and white words on the paper. Nowlin writes very intelligently, and it is so well crafted that it feels almost artful in its composition (foreshadowing, etc). I lost myself in this book – laughed out loud and cried real tears….Highly recommend!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    If he had been with me

    It is a very good book i recommend this book you need to read it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Excellent Read!

    This is the best book I have read in a while. I loved the characters and genuinely cared what happened to them. Unlike a lot of teen novels these days, this one felt so realistic. These characters could very well have been me and my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Autumn and Finn are the children of best friends. Their mothers

    Autumn and Finn are the children of best friends. Their mothers gave birth to them within weeks of each other, they've lived right next door to each other their entire lives and have family dinners several times a week. This is all good and great until a small incident turns into a big problem and Autumn and Finn grow apart. They spend high school barely speaking or even acknowledging each other. They each have a close knit set of friends and they are both in loving relationships. They also both miss each other more than they care to admit.

    When circumstance and happenstance continually place them together, love inevitably wins them over only to be torn apart by death. This isn't a spoiler, not really. You know from the synopsis and the first several pages of the book that the death is an inevitability. It's the journey to the death that is the story.

    Autumn, at many times was shallow and immature and I had difficulty remembering how old she is supposed to be. Then she would show a moment of growth or vulnerability that would help me understand her just a little. She's grown up in a house with a depressed mother and takes on many of those traits without any knowledge of doing so. It's the decisions she makes out of pure emotion that had me pulling my hair out. She had this pure desperation to fit into some group, weather it be the popular cheerleader types or the misfits. The group didn't seem to matter as much as just having a place and people to 'belong to'. I wanted her to be stronger, but that just is not who she is as a character.

    If He Had Been With Me chronicles a large chunk of Autumn's life and the journey to finding real love and admitting it to yourself and the person your heart belongs too. It's a journey of self awareness and honesty. Autumn finally finds that strength and has one perfect moment of truly feeling it's happiness before it is ripped away from her and she must learn to live without it and with the decisions she made before it.

    If He Had Been With Me started off a little rough for me. The writing style gave me many a pause, it had a very middle grad feel to it. There is not much in the way of description, it's a very clinical feeling narrative. It took me some time to get used to. After finding a groove with the writing, the story began to pull me in. As I said, you know pretty well from the start how it is all going to end but I still wanted to see how the story got there.

    The ending was the biggest fall back, for me. It dealt with a couple of extremely delicate situations, yet felt rushed and unconcerned. I would have liked to see Nowlin delve deeper into the meatier issues that are brought up throughout the story. It touches on death, suicide, depression and teen pregnancy but almost blows over all of them.

    This is a story that will find an audience. Those who love coming of age tales will find many aspects of If He Had Been With Me riveting and I think many teenage girls will relate well to Autumn and the situations she finds herself in.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Beautifully tragic

    This is one of those books that draws you in and has you gripping at every detail. I found myself easily drawn to the characters who were personal and relateable. It is an ever lasting love story and so much more. I highly recommend.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2014

    I loved this book! I am 36 yrs old and heard about it through a

    I loved this book! I am 36 yrs old and heard about it through a teenager who read it. I was skeptical b/c it was a teen book but I literally couldn't put it down. One of the best books I've read in a long time. I didn't want it to end but when it did, I cried my eyes out. Highly recommend this one to teens, young adults and adults as well!

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  • Posted October 6, 2014

    A great read for fans of If I Stay. Some of the jumping around i

    A great read for fans of If I Stay. Some of the jumping around in the time sequences gets confusing at times but I really got emotionally sucked in by this book. It is classified as a teen book and it is, but I would put it in the 16 and up category due to sexual content.

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