If He Had Been with Me - Laura Nowlin Real rating 2 1/2. See more of my reviews at Take Me Away... This book could have been so extremely epic. But there were so many things preventing it from being that. It took me couple days just to sit down and figure out how to word the review without turning it into a rant. Yes, I am just THAT mad at this. When I first read the synopsis I was super excited to read this. And then looking at the cover I could almost feel the grief radiating off of it. But when I opened it and read the first few pages, I was disappointed in the writing. And when I say disappointed, I don't mean in a little bit. The writing in this book is bad. Like really bad. The only reason I continued reading it is because I was hoping it got better at the climax of the story. At one point I had half a mind to DNF it, but I really wanted to know how the ending would be. My curiosity was the only thing that saved it. Another thing I didn't like was the characters. Like the way Autumn was so dependent on her friends and boyfriend. She felt like there was no way her and Finny could be friends (even though they knew each other since birth) and she wouldn't do anything without their permission. And then there was how childish she was. The book goes over memories from elementary school, middle school, and high school and it seemed like they were all the same. None of them showed any growth in her besides the fact that she didn't want to be friends with Finny anymore. It was weird. She still seemed as if she was in middle school the entire time. And Finny? He was just unrealistic to me. The biggest thing that I hated about this, was the fact that there wasn't much feeling. To say that this book is about death, I really felt it was going to be a tear jerker, but I found my self just shrugging and saying "Oh, he's gone." I really expected to be in heavy tears. And not only then. There was graduation and the breakup too where I didn't feel any type of emotion from the writing. It was just another moment in the book to me. Until the very end. And when I say very end I mean at 95%. If it had been like that the entire book, I would have liked this soooooo much more. Lastly, because the characters weren't the most exciting and the emotional connection wasn't there, the whole book just seemed a little drawn out. I mean when they graduated high school you would think it would end there,but it didn't. It was drawn out until the end of that summer where there was nothing really going on. It took everything in me not to skim to where the story will pick up. And when it finally did, it was over. I hated the ending. I wanted to know the answer to the final question. I'm guessing its implied but still..... In short, there was so much I was expecting out of this, but it just didn't live up to what I had in mind for it. I really wish I liked it a lot more than I did because I was really hoping to. Hopefully you all will like it more than I did.