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If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin – Book Review

Love, regret, and friendship
Courtesy of Amazon
Courtesy of Amazon

If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin is a story about love, regret, friendship, missed chances, and the tragedies that come along with growing up. Following protagonist Autumn, the story takes place over the four years of her high school career and all the bumps along the road. She has been best friends with her neighbor, Finn Smith, since they were little, never leaving each other’s sides for anything. But as they grew up, Autumn and Finn grew apart. Their mothers have thought that Finn and Autumn were destined for each other since they were kids, but Autumn places her doubts on that as they start at high school and Finn dates Sylvie, a popular cheerleader. Autumn gets into a relationship with a boy named Jamie, who despite treating her the way she thinks is “right”, isn’t the one she wants. As the school years float by, Autumn comes to realize that how she felt about Finn might be different than what she thought. 

Personally while reading this book, it was impossible to put down. It is written in a way that makes the plot engaging and surprising. At the same time, the right person wrong time trope frustrated me while also making me crave for the ending even more. In addition to this first great novel, the sequel If Only I Had Told Her adds the perfect segment to complete the story of Autumn and Finn. The sequel not only holds the same elements as the first book but has even more emotion and rawness to it. Written from three different points of view, we are able to see more of the details from Finn, Autumn, and Finn’s best friend, Jack, that weren’t expressed in the original. Overall, both If He Had Been With Me and If Only I Had Told Her by Laura Nowlin are incredible stories that I recommend to any reader.

If you liked these novels and are looking for more like them, here are a few suggestions:

  • Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nevin
  • Happy Place by Emily Henry
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