If He Had Been With Me, by Laura Nowlin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Tragedy
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Summary: If he had been with me everything would have been different...
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.
Thank you to all of the bookworms and fellow readers who have recommended this book out to everyone.
Literally. I'm going to put this out there so everyone can see before they make a decision to read this book: If you dislike crying or would not like to cry or bawl your senses out, please don't buy this book and I'd seriously run away from it and this review. Period.
Dear Laura Nowlin,
WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? I'M DONE. I JUST CAN'T ANYMORE. But since I love my viewers (and stalkers, wink wink) I'll write a review. Teehee. Okay, let's begin.
In my own little summary, this book is about Autumn, who was always known as the weird girl in school, but she had one friend, and at moments in her life, she began to realize her love for that one friend, Finn, who's also Autumn's next door neighbour, and who's mom is best friends with Autumn's mom. They were friends since they were in diapers, and now at sixteen, their friendship has faded away. They both hang out with different crowds and like to do different things. But Autumn still sees Finn outside her bedroom window, reminding her of all the memories they had shared together. When Finn suddenly dies in a car crash, everyone is interpreting that different things happened that day. But Autumn is the only one who really knows the truth.
From the first chapter, this book begins with Autumn's POV, and her talking about Phineas's sudden death. We immediately find out that he died in a car crash with his girlfriend (who survived) in the passenger seat. Autumn notes that they were fighting, but we won't know why until the fast paced ending, where all of our feels just exploded.
The main idea of this book is basically finding out what would happen if Phineas was with Autumn the whole entire time. I guess you could say that it is possibly Autumn's fault that Finn died, but fate has its way, right? Some people might say that you are reading this book to find out the truth behind everything, but I seriously felt that it was more than that. It was something deeper and more beautiful than just finding out how and why he died. More deeper than Tumblr deep, everyone.
I do have to say that the beginning was slow. It took a while for the plot to begin zooming up a hill (I always refer to roller coasters everyone) but it somewhat wasn't boring and I had no thoughts of wanting to put the book down. It was like waiting for maple syrup to come out of the bottle, it's something good that you know is going to happen, so it's worth the while to wait.
Towards the middle, the romance began and Laura Nowlin began wanting to make us choose sides- Jamie or Finn. It was a very difficult decision to make because these characters were absolutely amazing.
I really loved Autumn. Karma really hit her hard throughout the novel. It was bad luck after more bad luck after even more bad luck, and then something amazing and happy happened, and then BOOM again my feels exploded and I ended up bawling like a little child when their ice cream cone dropped. I was like a mother longing for her child. My love for this book was like a mother's love. Too much love, everyone. What I loved about this book was that it was so real. Many people aren't happy in life- we all know it. Not everyone will have their happy ending, but good things will happen in between that will try to make a situation a little more clear and somewhat better. Books that have a deep meaning just touch my heart because they're pure excellence and amazing compared to other books.
Jamie, Jamie, Jamie. I really liked this guy during the middle part, especially when he told Autumn that he'd never leave her. And then, BOOM. He left her. He's a perfect example of real people out there- they lie and leave you brokenhearted when they're the people you need the most. Autumn was going through a really hard time- and she didn't have anyone there for her, except Finn, who's protective and loveable as a teddy bear. He was there for her from the beginning, and that's true love.
Finn was my overall favourite character. He just made me squeal every time he spoke. He was there for Autumn all along, and I'm happy that they both realized their love for each other by the end, the very sad ending that just shattered my heart into a million pieces.
Stories like this come from the heart, and will touch many other hearts. Not everyone will like it, but the ones that do will see something special in it that others can't and won't be able to explain. This was one of the best books I've ever read, and I'm looking forward to more from Laura Dowlin. Finn + Autumn= <3