Review: If He Had Been With Me {Laura Nowlin}

If He Had Been With Me
If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.
Throughout their childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable. Two peas in a far-out pod. But once they get to middle school, then high school, things change and they're thrown into different social circles.

Despite the fact that they're mothers are still close, Finn and Autumn aren't friends any more. Just neighbours who used to know each other.

Finn has Sylvie. And Autumn has been dating James for years. Still though, she can't help but wonder what life would've been like if her and Finn were together. But the night she gets her answers, is a night she'd rather forget.


This was not what I expected. Going into this book I thought I'd be getting an intense romance with a tragic end. Instead, what I got was more of a coming-of-age story. There's nothing wrong with that, it just wasn't what I had in mind. And, if I'm honest, it got kind of tedious. I mean, stuff happened, but nothing was really happening. At least not until the last few chapters.

The story is mostly Autumn growing up, from when she was a kid, to middle school, to high school. There's a lot about her friends and her boyfriend James, but not nearly enough about Finn who is what drew me to the book in the first place.

I wanted more moments between them – more swoon and just more build-up. But, alas, no. Even when Autumn realised her feelings, it felt rushed and underdeveloped because they just hadn't interacted enough in recent years.

That being said, the last few chapters were brilliantly done and exactly what I hoped the rest of the book would be. It almost made everything worth reading. It was heartbreaking and sweet and intense. Seriously intense.

Is this the kind of book I'm going to re-read? Probably not. But did I leave feeling satisfied? Yes. Any quibbles I might have had were put to bed by the end and I found myself riveted by those final chapters.

"It's impossible to say and even harder to feel."


Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart.


  1. Glad you enjoyed overall, and the last chapters sound great. I will go in with more of an open mind because I would expect the tragic romance too

  2. Yeah, I think if you go into it with an open-mind then it's probably more enjoyable. I'm just a sucker for romance and (shamefully) it can be hard to keep my attention if a book doesn't have a bit of swoon.
    The reviews on Goodreads have been pretty solid though, so maybe I'm just being a grump lol

  3. :( Sounds soo sad! ... but that cover is beautiful!