If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable, they finished each others sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy

Autumn and Finny have known each other their entire lives. Born only two weeks apart, the two have grown up together, they live next door to one another. They've shared dinners, colds, secrets and chickenpox at the same time. The best of friends throughout their childhood.

Autumn is a non conformist, she's been labelled weird and a freak most of her life. She's slightly batty, she wears tiaras because she likes them and marches to the beat of her own drum. Finn has grown into a dashing and handsome young man. But gone ate the days when they would live in each others pockets, when Finn would beat up other boys for calling Autumn weird, where he would crawl into her room when she was sad, or just hold her hand.

When they both start high school, the two are no longer friends and have had drifted apart. Both find happiness with new relationships. But when life goes pear shaped, can Funny and Autumn realise what truly matters is right in front of them, before a cruel turn of events decides it's too late?

From the first chapter, I was confused. It wasn't just the formal dialogue as such, but the style of writing seemed to blend sentences together. After the first few chapters, it flowed more freely thankfully. After finishing If He Had Been With Me, I kept thinking what the moral of the novel was, as it starts with the tragedy and the rest of the novel is made up of reflections.

Is it that life is short? I just didn't find the deeper meaning. I was slightly disturbed that a group of non conforming teens never swore, but unprotected sex, teen pregnancy, infidelity, depression, and dependency all feature heavily throughout. I just couldn't relate to the characters, even when I was a teen myself, all those years ago. It tries to squeeze too many social issues in, besides the above, you also have underage binge drinking, single parents, divorce, attempted suicide and bullying, just to name a few.

It just wasn't my cup of tea, but if I do ever have a non conforming, reclusive, mildly gothic child someday, this guidebook may come in handy. It's such a shame, I love that cover!

If He Had Been With Me
Written By Laura Nowlin
Published: 01 / 04 / 2013
320 Pages

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