Book Reviews by NBPL Teens

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

Review by Abigail

Post Date:05/22/2023

if he had been with me book cov

The book, “If He Had Been With Me” by Laura Nowlin follows the main characters Autumn and Finn. In this book they both learn what it feels like to fall in and out of love – or maybe they never fell out of it. Autumn and Finn (Phineas) were raised together – literally. Their mothers were best friends, and even lived right next to each other. Autumn and Finn did everything together when they were younger. Every big moment that occurred in both their lives always included each other – until each memory slowly lost sight of each other. Through slight miscommunication, they lost each other. They were forced to experience high school without each other, and slowly drifted away. Both found their own groups, cliques even in replacement. They both got into relationships, but never lost thought of each other. Autumn and her boyfriend, Jamie, were the “it” couple – they were envied by many. On the contrary to Autumn’s feelings toward Jamie, Autumn soon found out from Jamie that he had cheated on her with Sasha – her close friend. Struck by surprise and lost of trust, she wallowed herself in her room for many days. She began to lose herself in her new identity without Jamie, Sasha, and the rest of her group until Finny came. At the beginning, it was as awkward as one can be. However, through spending more and more time together, they become more comfortable with one another and even begin sharing personal experiences. They resolve the misunderstanding that eventually drove them apart, and both are appalled at the other’s point of view. Autumn realizes her feelings towards Finn were never lost, but rather buried. On the night where everything is cleared up, Finn is needed at the airport to pick up his girlfriend. His original plan was to break up with her in the car ride, however sometimes plans are altered at the end. 

I truly loved this book, and the millions of rants and texts towards my friends can prove it. I fell in love with this story surrounding two highschool students, but in the end I wish I didn’t. The title of the book is just a mere warning for the tsunami of emotions I experienced at the end. Many stories similar to this one have to be very delicately written. Each word, sentence, paragraph holds deep meanings; it feels as if you have to cling on to it. I would definitely classify this as a “sad” book, but their story feels healing, repairing. When they resolved their misunderstanding, I almost jumped up in joy. Nevertheless, throughout all my tears, I truly loved this book and would give so much to read it again. 

From the previous paragraph, it shows how much love I have for this book. The only, single detail I wish I could fix was the chaoticness or organization. For me, I discarded this as a mere detail, however I know many others readers have a big problem against the organization. Again, though, I truly have no errors or comments that involve criticizing this book. 

I would most definitely recommend this to other readers. I’ve recommended it to friends, and you should too. This book cannot be classified as an easy or heavy read, and I cannot define the experience you’re going to have. Each reader views everything in their own way, and perception of this book varies from reader to reader. However, this book is definitely worth giving a try. I loved it so much, and I’m sure you will too.  


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