16 May 2015

Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Laura Nowlin
Pages: 330
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7.5/10

Summary (thanks Goodreads):
I wasn't with Finn on 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...

My Thoughts:
**contains tiny insignificant spoilers such as dialogue**

Okay, this book has everything. Swoon worthy boy, check. Shy, "getting to know herself" girl, check. Bad influences, check. Bitches you wanna slap, double check.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the aspect of the book that follows the main character and her struggles in starting high school, making friends and dealing with boys, the main MAIN MAIN MAIN reason I enjoyed this book so much was for none other than Phineas Smith. Oh, Phineas.

We basically follow this girl, Autumn, and her life as she enters high school and goes through all four years. Her character was a bit immature at times and honestly I wanted to stop reading about her altogether. She was quite whiny and the fact that she said a lot of things like "I'm going to marry Jamie. We're going to be together forever". Like I'm sorry but you are in high school. Also, the relationships between Autumn and her girlfriends were a bit forced. The dialogue between them was awful, and it was painful to read lines like "Oh my God, what's wrong?" I ask. Brooke looks down at our feet on the tile floor. "I cheated on Noah," she says..."He kissed me, and for a moment, I let him." Please, please enough. It just seemed so fake, so forced. I couldn't handle it. It was like a bad Disney Channel show.

But honestly, it was worth the moments with Finny. He was so cute, so down to earth and shy, and he truly brought out the best in Autumn. We see their relationship in the past compared to the present, and throughout the book I was rooting for them to strive. AND THEN THE THING HAPPENED AND I DROWNED IN A RIVER OF MY TEARS. I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO IT'S IN THE FIRST GODDAMN CHAPTER AND IT STILL HIT ME OVER THE HEAD.

The major problem I had was the end, though. The last chapter. It was way too rushed, and it was a huge misinterpretation on how to handle loss. I won't say anything else without spoiling it.

The last half of the book really had me reeling, and to be honest I would love a companion novel about Finny and his point of view. I feel like I would have enjoyed that much more than this one because the only reason I loved it so much was for Finny.

Final thoughts:
This book is a great coming-of-age novel and the main character learns many lessons that girls going through high school will likely endure. Plus FINNY


  1. I love when a book is saved by a great character. When you wrote that it sounded like a bad Disney movie I was like I will never read this book. But I love this Finny guy, if you love him maybe the book deserves a chance

    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming

    1. yes i think this book is definitely worth it for Finny's character! and it doesn't hurt to try reading the book and deciding on it for yourself :) i know others have loved it!
      happy reading!

      - Kayla @one-chapter-ahead


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