If He Had Been with Me

A Book Review by Danielle Kramer

If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin

Phineas (Finn) and Autumn have been in love with each other since a very young age and best friends even longer, but as they tumble head long into high school the differences that used to bring them together tear them apart. Social status and a need to fit in put them on two completely different playing fields, but they continue to cross paths and the tension rises as they struggle with their feelings for one another. Missed opportunities are the name of the game in this twisted tale, in which a tragic car accident leaves the heroine crying out, "If he had been with me, everything would be different."

What I Liked :D!

In the book If He Had Been with Me, Laura Nowlin does a wonderful job of giving a back story for anything that requires prior knowledge of Finn and Autumn's life together. Nowlin also excels at pinning down social cliques, the pitfalls of high school, and how certain differences can tear two people, that were once inseparable, apart.

What I Didn't Like :(...

While Nowlin does do a fantastic job of keeping the reader informed of anything they should be privy to, she also tends to over-elaborate and leave the reader wondering when she'll ever get to the point. And while there was a tremendous, heart-wrenching climax, it took so long in the making that I almost didn't finish reading the book, which is something I never do because that's just sacrilegious ;). The author did a poor job of making the life the two characters were living in the present tense as interesting as the flash backs woven throughout the story. I also did not enjoy the ending of If He Had Been with Me.

Would I or Wouldn't I?...

On the whole I did not enjoy reading this book, so I would not recommend this book to other readers. Unless, of course, you're just a fan of horribly tragic endings that have you reaching for the tissues, in which case this book is for you! I was also very disappointed and dissatisfied with how this author, Laura Nowlin, decided to tell this story that had the potential to be very captivating and instead came out rather dull and unhappy. So to whether or not I would recommend this author to other readers...that is a loud and resounding NO.
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