“If He Had Been With Me” by Laura Nowlin Review

If He Had Been With Me [Book] by Laura Nowlin


If He Had Been With Me [Book] by Laura Nowlin

“If He Had Been With Me” by Lauren Nowlin is a heartbreaking story of what transpires throughout the lives of two childhood friends; one who met a tragic fate, and one who narrates the story through her thoughts about what she could have done differently to save him.

This story is one that takes you on a journey that feels true and raw all the way through. The writing is intricate while still being digestible, and it tugs at your heartstrings with each carefully plotted chapter.

Spanning through the four years of their high school lives, we learn about the two main characters, Finny and Autumn. Inseparable as children, they used to never be able to imagine a time that they would be apart. However, as they grow up, and life gets more complicated, they both take two very different routes in life and grow apart. The story includes flashbacks to the characters as children and keeps the reader intrigued as to why their relationship ended up the way it did.

This book is one that readers will find so much to resonate with. As the characters develop, grow throughout the years, and face different challenges that test them, the reader is able to form a bond with each of the characters individually despite their flaws and sometimes questionable decision making. By the end of the novel, you feel like you know the characters personally because you experienced all of their highs and lows with them. It makes it easy to forget that the characters are not real people.

My favorite part about this book is the way that every intricate detail ties into the end of the story, leaving no small plotline amiss. There were times when I was reading the book and wondering why the author was spending so much time on one certain scene or detail. At the time, I found it slightly irritating, but once you see how everything ties together, every twist and turn makes sense. Every scene was expertly plotted, and every character was genuinely important to the story and did not feel like an add-on.

Despite everything, there are still a few details about this book that I would change. The pacing felt very odd to me due to the fact that it dragged on at some points and rushed at others. The ending of this book also felt very rushed and did not have the clarity I was hoping for.

This book is compulsively readable and will tug on your heartstrings for its entirety. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants something that will stick with them long after they finish the last page. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.