Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: If He Had Been With Me - Laura Nowlin

Where I got it: Netgalley
Rating: 5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (It's a great cover.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 330 p.
Buy it: Book Depository | Indie | Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Finn and Autumn were the best of friends until middle school. That's when they seemed to grow apart. Finn was with the popular crowd and Autumn was with the not-so-popular crowd. Their moms were still friends and they were still neighbors, so they saw each other most days. Autumn has Jaime now and they have been going out for practically forever. So what if she feels a pang in her chest when she looks at Finn. She's happy with her new friends and her new life...right?

Love this book. This will most likely be my favorite for the year. Laura Nowling just gets it. Everything is just completely brilliant in this novel. The characters are totally great and the story is heartbreaking and just so honest. "I want to savour this wonder, this happening of loving a book and reading it for the first time, because the first time is always the best, and I will never read this book for the first time ever again." She also totally gets being a reader. It always draws me into the book when the character is a big reader too.

Finn and Autumn were the best characters. I always wanted a friend like Finn. I wanted that kind of easy friendship where the line between two people is blurred. It was devastating to me to see them not together. I could feel the pull in Autumn's chest each time she saw Finn. Even though she was happy with her other friends and Jaime, she wasn't as happy as she could be. Her heart still wanted more. It crazy how such a small little thing could drive people apart without them even realizing why. A simple miscommunication and two lives are left incomplete. It's awful, but I'm sure it happens all the time.

Jaime was an okay character. I think I loved Finn too much to really give Jaime a chance. It seemed a little bit mean at times, but nothing too bad. He just wasn't a good fit for Autumn's eccentricity. Their little group seemed to function like any group of friends and they all seemed to work okay together.

The only bit that I wasn't crazy about is when we read Autumn's story that she wrote. She was supposedly this really wonderful author, but the story was fairly juvenile. It wasn't bad it was just kind of basic and plain.

This book is everything I want my realistic fiction to be. Just beautiful and honest. I knew how it was going to end early one, you kind of know from the first few pages. Regardless, you are still wishing and hoping that the outcome isn't what it seems to be. It was awful in a good way—in a I don't ever want this book to end kind of way. It made me laugh, it made me bawl my eyes out, it made my chest hurt and it made me close the book and immediately want to pick it up and start from the very beginning. It made me feel everything as if it was my own story.

First Line:
"I wasn't with Finny on that August night, but my imagination has burned the scene in my mind so that it feels like a memory."

Favorite Lines:
"No one is perfect."

"'I think we're supposed to experience as much beauty as we can.'"

"The icy wind burns through my gloves and my fingers ache until they fall numb and silent."

"I can feel them in my mouth like three smooth pebbles."

1 comment:

  1. i agree this book was everything that 9i love in contemp YA (well, maybe not the ending, which was a bit dramatic and didnt match the tone of the rest of the book, IMO)

    anyway, this is an absolute fave for me and i cant wait to read more of her work! awesome review


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