Posted 20 hours ago

If He Had Been with Me: The Tiktok Sensation

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Joined in 2023

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Senior year brings Finny and Autumn closer as they share a gym class and become partners in their activities. Teens discuss, embrace, and/or try to break free of various high school and gender stereotypes -- such as athlete, cheerleader, goth, prom king, and preppy. At the end of senior year, Autumn's boyfriend breaks up with her, and Finny's girlfriend travels to Europe.

As the story follows Autumn and Finny through their high school years, they rarely interact outside of their "family" gatherings. I also knew the closer I got the end what was going to happen but I didn't know that I would be treated to confessions that made my heart burst with happiness even though I knew in a few short pages I knew my heart would break in two. I started reading in the morning and didn't put it down until I was done crying because I had a feeling someone stabbed me in the heart even though the book started with the most unpleasant thing than can happen. I felt like the story was a little predictable, but still hit me like a train-wreck when it all unfolded. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character.I just wish Autumn had been a better main character (I feel like I'm being a little judgmental on her honestly, but oh well. But what may surprise you is that part of you goes down this rabbit hole, welling up newfound regret, breathing in anger at the fucked-up world that honestly doesn't get better as you get older. The story revolves around the lives of Autumn and Finny, childhood friends who once had an unbreakable bond but drift apart once high school begins.

Compassion and empathy are important tools in supporting friends through challenges, including the ups and downs of growing up, changing relationships, high school melodrama, mental illness, and difficult family dynamics. I hated her "not like other girls" and "quirky" (that word makes me cringe every time I see it 🙄) attitude, and also how she just kept acting so weird around Jamie. If He Had Been With Me was on my 'can't wait' list for months and I couldn't resist and read it the moment I got my hands on it. So, get ready to vibe because these books paired with Taylor Swift’s sound and lyricism have our hearts absolutely captivated. Even though Finn and Autumn are not friends any more she can help but think about the time they spent together so we get to read about their childhood memories.

The beautiful cover and the description of this book lured me in and I couldn’t wait to read this story. Her friends were also a supportive bunch, and I enjoyed the fun they had and the time they spent together, but one particular point which I didn’t expect at all, blemished my high opinion I held of some of them.

Best friends since birth, they find themselves separated by misunderstandings all through high school, only to be pulled back together the summer after graduation, and then ripped apart again. That is mental illness: the constant rewind and fast forward of feeling too much and not enough, the past being as palpable as the present. There's little plot and not much action as Autumn, Finny, and their friends move through high school. Finn is hangin with the popular crowd-cheerleaders and football players and they ignore each other all the time except it's hard since their mothers are really close friends and they even eat together. Brown on the edges and bright in other colors, their petals drooping downward, dying just as their lives have begun.Autumn’s personality was also only shown through her relationship with her friends, which made her character drab and uninteresting. Despite being a complete mess a few days afterwards and constantly asking myself how and why Nowlin would do this to me. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.

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