BOOK REVIEW: IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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If he had been with me everything would have been different…

I wasn’t with Finn on that August night. But I should’ve been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it’s not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know—the cause of the argument—is crucial.

So let me tell you…

I believe that everyone goes through an experience in their life where they meet a person that leaves an imprint. You know, for whatever reason this person is unforgettable, irreplaceable, and relentlessly ingrained in your mind. No matter what you do or how much time has passed or how many people you have loved since, they are still there. Even though you don’t quite need them anymore, you can’t get them out of your head.

This is what happen with Autumn and Finny. Autumn and Finny had been best friend forever until they are not. Somethings happen between them back when they were 13 and changed their life. In junior high school, Autumn join a popular gang and turn to be the beautiful girl while Finny was still a nerd. And then one day, Autumn refuse to join cheerleader and leave her friends for sure. She then be friends with Brooke, Angie, and Sasha in high school. She blow up her popular friends and join in a misfit gang. Things turn so good for Finny because he join football, date a beautiful cheerleader, and be a most popular boy in school.

Autumn and Finny had made a space between them larger and larger, and there is such a weird tension between them. It was unbelievable because Autumn and Finny used to be best friend like forever. They life in the same neighborhood, their mother were like a peas in a pod, and they often had “family time” to spend their moment together. At first, we as a reader don’t know why Autumn and Finny were gone apart. There were a secret we don’t know yet about their past.

As I said before, Autumn and Finny hang out with friends who opposite side with the one and another. Autumn with her misfit gang and Finny with his popular gang. It was weird when they pass each other and feeling like they are stranger but their past said no. Autumn then started dating Jamie and Finny date Sylvie. Even though, clearly Autumn have a feeling for Finny and regret over the loss of her friendship with Finny. The story were so good and I love how things between Autumn and Finny developed so fine. I don’t want to burst the whole story in this review because I hate spoiling story.

Autumn is a pretty girl, not kind of pretty–like pretty like princess. No. She was misfit, beautiful in her quirky way. She wore tiara everyday in school and dress the way she want. And in the other side, Finny is not a perfect boy like typically describe in most young-adult novel. He was awkward, and shy, and somehow little bit mellow. He blushed when he’s embarassed and it was so cute. But his character way toooo real. I love how he dealt with things around him and how he speak with Autumn. Finny is definitely my book crush from now on and it’s time to said goodbye with Levi from “Fangirl”. *bow a goodbye*

It has been a long time since I have fallen so hard for a contemporary YA Novel. And this novel were the reason why. This story moves so flawlessly and told from Autumn point of view. Gone from the first to back, we see the character improvement. From their childhood to their present. I feel like I known Autumn and Finny for a long time and it hurts me when the story must end like that.

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It’s one of those books were I find it hard to move on to another one. I didn’t want to put it down. I knew it will end badly because the first chapter in this book had stated that. I knew that tragedy will happen and I think I was so prepared to chase it. And I was not. It was depressing, in a good way. I cried for a day and I cursed the author for write such a heartbreaking stories especially in chapter 82 until 85. I hate it but I can’t stop to read the rest of the story.

And when it ends…

I stare blankly to the ceiling, thinking nothing but this book. My heart aches and I feel like being punched in the gut after I read the last 3 chapter. I finally knew, why the author give this damn title for her book: “If He Had Been With Me”. Finny oh Finny, why you leave Autumn in such depressing way? It was that moment when you finish a book, look around, and realize that everyone is just carrying on with their lives as though you didn’t just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback.

I, definitely, won’t forget this book for a long time. *burst in tears*

Okay, back to work!

“I’ve loved him my whole life, and somewhere along the way, that love didn’t change but grew. It grew to fill the parts of me that I did not have when I was a child. It grew with every new longing of my body and desire until there was not a piece of me that did not love him. And when I look at him, there is no other feeling in me.”
― Laura Nowlin, If He Had Been with Me

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4 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

    • Puji Eka Lestari says:

      since the beginning of this story, the author clearly told us how this story gonna end *hint: yes Finny is dead :’)* but you can’t stop reading even though it’s going to tear you apart and leave you heartbroken.

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