Monday, June 22, 2015

REVIEW: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

I wasn't with Finn that August night. But I should've been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it's not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know-the cause of the argument-is crucial.

So let me tell you.

I can't handle my emotions right now! One moment please...

This book has left me reeling from the moment I put it down. I just can't understand how the author could do this to me. To all of us! Let me take a moment to explain.
From the minute you read the synopsis you know that a terrible thing has happened in this story. At the moment it's not so terrible though because you don't know the characters. There are no emotional ties between you and them. But as soon as you start to read the book and get to know the characters you instantly fall in love with them. This is what makes this book so difficult to read. The entire time you're reading it and falling in love with the characters, you know that something is going to happen to one of them and you're secretly praying that it doesn't. Maybe the author was joking you think, just trying to get your attention. But NOPE! That is not the case at all. Laura Nowlin is officially the master of heartbreak. She tricked me and made me fall in love with someone that she knew I couldn't keep. I hate her for this! But I have to admit that it makes the story unique.

Autumn and Finny are best friends. Their mothers are best friends. They are also neighbors. Throughout the years they begin to drift apart and are in relationships with different people but somehow end up back together again. We see their relationship from the beginning of high school to the end and get to see the transformation throughout.

As a character I actually really like Autumn. She's kind of a weirdo and everyone knows it but she totally owns it. I admire that she was never embarrassed to just be herself. Of course when it comes to Finny, I think she was completely blind to the affections he had for her. It couldn't have been more obvious if neon signs were flashing in her face! I think she tried really hard to pretend she didn't notice sometimes.

Finny, of course, completely stole my heart. He wasn't some alpha male ego type. He was kind and considerate and had no problem blushing when Autumn pretty much did anything. I really liked that about him. I feel like the story should have been opposite. He should have been the MC. I would have loved to hear his thoughts. Especially when Autumn was around. Once they finally "connected" it was pretty much the happiest moment of the book. Shadowed only by the tragic accident that shortly followed.

Leading me to my biggest peeve of the book. My only peeve actually. That ending! I feel like the author ruined the entire book with the last chapter. Finny deserved better. So did Autumn. That was nowhere near the ending I'd imagined. I can't deny though that even though i'm furious with how it ended my heart still aches for it. Knowing how everything went down and how unfair and hopeless it felt. Without that ending this would have been a five star review. The ending dramatically dropped it. Would I recommend it? I'm not sure...Maybe.


  1. This book broke my heart into a million pieces. I knew what is going to happen but I just couldn't accept it. I kept telling myself that it must be a mistake, that the author is going to make it into a happy ending but... no. On some levels I think these type of books that tell you well ahead that something horrible is going to happen are a lot worse than the ones that shock you completely. It's hard not to hope for a better outcome.
    Lovely review, Lexi! :)

    1. I agree 100% with you Veronika. These kinds of books are definitely worse because knowing the bad thing is going to happen only makes it harder. The hope that the author builds in you is almost cruel.

  2. Oh gosh. I love these types of books. In theory. The synopsis sounds amazing and knowing I'm getting heartache somehow makes it all the more interesting. However, once I start reading and I'm experiencing the heartache? The worst. But I think I agree with Veronika too. Knowing the hurt is coming prior to reading instead of it being a shock does seem worse. You start to hope for the best even when you know it not going to happen. SIGH. Oh why do these authors do this to us?


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