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Staley News

Review: ‘If He Had Been With Me’ An Emotional Rollercoaster

Author Perfectly Depicts Teenage Life, Friendships

     “If he had been with me, everything would have been different…” From that line to the very end, this book was full of ups and downs.

WARNING: Some spoilers ahead

    “If He Had Been With Me” by Laura Nowlin is about Phineas (Finny/Finn) and Autumn, whose moms grew up being best friends. They bought houses next to each other, and Autumn and Finny grew up being best friends; they were inseparable. But as they grew up, they grew apart. Finny became popular and got his first girlfriend Sylvie, and Autumn became an outcast. 

     The author gives background about how Finny and Autumn’s friendship began and  foreshadows the ending on the first page of the book. This really helped set up the book and really pull their reader into their world.

     Autumn found a small friend group who made her feel like she fit in and just started dating her first boyfriend Jamie. Later in the story Jamie breaks up with Autumn, and Sylvie goes on a trip to Europe. Finny tries to help Autumn through her breakup, and they start to hang out more and rebuild their friendship over the summer. 

     I really enjoyed this book and seeing Finny and Autumn grow up together. The author really let readers see both of their personalities and how their feelings changed toward each other as the book went on. The author was able to help us see into both the characters despite the fact that the story is in only Autumn’s perspective. 

      I feel like I can connect to the book through the way the author described teenage life and how growing up works. She showed the experiences teenagers go through, and I could really connect with some of the characters in that aspect of the book. I think the author was able to connect with their readers and really help them feel the same feelings as the characters.

     Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It took the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions and kept me intrigued until the end.

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