Title: if he had been with me
Author: Laura Nowlin
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Autumn and Finny have been inseparable since birth, but have grown apart during middle school and rarely speak in high school. After a terrible accident, Autumn reflects on her relationship with Finny, and how everything could have been different.
While I loved the middle of this book, I hated the beginning and the end. Why ruin such a great love story? Why do you have to make it Romeo and Juliet? Yes, one of the major themes is tragedy, but I don’t fully agree with Autumn that tragedy can be beautiful. (There was so much ranting after I finished this book- I would have flung it across the room if it hadn’t been 2am).
I disliked these parts so much because there was so much good in the book, and I felt it had been wasted. The book is set in St. Louis, one of my favorite places (and a rare setting for a YA book). It’s a terrific coming-of-age story that I couldn’t put down. Autumn was quirky and funny, and wore a tiara, because she wanted to. And Finny is the ultimate boy-next-door who you can’t help but love.
But on the other side, tragedy looms everywhere, teen pregnancy is rampart, and I was left way too disgruntled. In my opinion, this book was trying too hard to be great, and it got in the way of actually being great.