Review: If He Had Been With Me

Autumn and Finn used to be inseparable. But then something changed. Or they changed. Now, they do their best to ignore each other.

Autumn has her boyfriend Jamie, and her close-knit group of friends. And Finn has become that boy at school, the one everyone wants to be around.


That still doesn’t stop the way Autumn feels every time she and Finn cross paths, and the growing, nagging thought that maybe things could have been different. Maybe they should be together.


But come August, things will change forever. And as time passes, Autumn will be forced to confront how else life might have been different if they had never parted ways…

This is one of those books that I’ll have a love-hate relationship with now that I’ve read it. On one hand, I enjoyed it, and on the other hand, it irritated me. It was so much work (reading) to get to the end, but at the same time I get how the story spanning over four years was necessary. All of this for an ending that broke my heart and pissed me off at the same time.

As the synopsis says, this book is about two best friends who grew apart, and somehow still have feelings for each other. All from a misunderstanding as thirteen-year-olds, Autumn and Finn’s friendship comes to an end; though being next door neighbors and having moms who are best friends, they still interact when necessary throughout high school. Finn becomes popular in high school, while Autumn runs with the misfits/weirdos of their school.

I liked how the story started with part of the ending. It was an insight to what would come, and you had to wonder if it was going to end tragically or not. Autumn, being the narrator, goes back to the beginning of where her and Finn’s friendship began to fall apart – starting the summer before high school. As I mentioned, the story spans throughout the four years of high school, which seems tedious at first, but it only covers the necessary parts of the story. The friendships, relationships, mental issues, home issues, and all that fun stuff. 

What irritated me about this book was that there was so much coverage about Autumn and Finn not being friends, that when they eventually rekindled their friendship near the end of the book, they weren’t done enough justice. If more of the book had been about their re-kindled friendship and feelings for one another, it would have been much, much better. Unfortunately, most of it was about Autumn trying to convince herself she’d be with, Jamie, her boyfriend since freshmen year, for the rest of her life and that she was in love with him.

So… final thoughts. For the most part, I did enjoy this book, despite my irritation with it. I think the reason I did like it is because the “lost friendship” element of the story is one I can relate to. Like, really relate to,. and wondering how life would’ve turned out if that friendship hadn’t fallen apart. Plus, with that ending… it’s one that I can’t stop thinking about and will probably haunt me for a while. Not the last 5-ish pages, but what happened to bring it to that point.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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