Sunday, August 25, 2013

If He Had Been With Me: A Book Review

I bought this book at Barnes and Noble and featured it in my July Book Haul.  I came across it in the Young Adult section as I was just walking around and looking at all the books that I wanted to buy (but since I don’t have ALL the money in the world, I was kind of inhibited).  I had already picked up the book that I was originally there for (plus another one that I just happened to NEED … yeah, you heard me right, NEED), so I thought I would pick up just one more book on that shopping trip.  I ended up choosing this one because I saw it on Goodreads, and it looked interesting and not an overly heavy read for summertime; I also picked it up because I believe it is a stand-alone novel, and I am trying to stay away from series right now because they just lead to more book buying, and I’m really trying to keep that at a minimum right now.  Wish me luck.

Title: If He Had Been With Me
Author: Laura Nowlin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Pages: 330
Out in Paperback?: Yes; April 1, 2013
My Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads Summary:

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.


The main character, Autumn, seemed to act a little young for me, and I found her to be a bit obnoxious (not bad enough to stop me from reading but a minor annoyance).  She was very unique, as was her group of high school friends, and they didn’t hang out with the popular kids but didn’t mind.  She seemed very immature (like always wearing a tiara on her head), but I have to remember that in the story, Autumn starts out at about the age of 15, so she is kinda immature (like everyone else at that age).  There were a few moments (I believe when Autumn and her girlfriends were just hanging out) that I felt I could relate a little better to them.  They seemed to just be young and having fun; I could reminisce about my high school days and even times during the summer when I recently was hanging out with friends.  Unfortunately, I felt that there was quite a bit of peer pressure coming from Autumn’s friends and her boyfriend, Jamie.  This did seem very normal at her age, especially in regards to having everyone in the group in a relationship with one another (this seemed really immature and silly to me – maybe it was because I couldn’t really relate to this as my group of friends was different, however, I’m sure many kids in high school fall into this peer pressure).  Autumn wrestles with the thoughts of true love and being in a relationship simply for the status that it gives her within her group of friends.  I really did enjoy Autumn’s childhood friend who she grew apart from, Finny.  He was quiet and shy, which made him seem really cute to me.  I love the conversations between them, as it just seemed to reflect their close relationship and refreshing since they could simply enjoy each other’s company.


I did enjoy the plot for the most part; it was very realistic with the high school drama, peer pressure, and typical events.  The book began in Autumn’s and Finny’s freshmen year and continued throughout their time in high school.  It started out a little difficult for me, simply because of the fact that my high school freshman year was quite a while ago, so this was hard to relate to.  The plot was pretty fast-paced as they did cover the 4-year period of high school, and as the novel progressed, it was a little easier for me to connect to the main characters and relate to the events.

Writing Style:

The writing style wasn’t my favorite; as I have previously mentioned, the book had a really young feel to it.  I think this did have a little to do with the age of the characters but mostly the way that the book was written.  I feel that some authors make their young adult books a little bit more universal by writing in a more mature way, which I prefer.  However, I will say that the author did a great job of making the characters grow on you, and despite already knowing the ending from the beginning of the book, the ending still kind of shocked me because I did end up caring for the characters.

Have you read this book?  What did you think of the writing style?

FTC Disclaimer:
All items mentioned were purchased by me.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links were used.

No comments:

Post a Comment