If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin, published in 2013, is a romance story about teenage love, grief, and friendship. Let’s examine the novel’s plot.
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A Story with a dramatic opening
The protagonist of the story is Autumn, a recent high school graduate who describes an accident and disagreement. Not hers, but that of her best buddy Finny and Sylvie. A vehicle that slides off a wet road. Autumn is pleading with him to remain in her narrative, although it is unclear where.
Autumn describes the events of “Before,” when she and Finny were inseparable, as well as the events leading up to the disaster.
About Autumn and Finny’s connection
Autumn and Finny are the children of two closest friends who also share the same age and were born within a week of each other.
While Autumn’s father is absent due to employment, Finny’s father is married and chooses to provide child support payments.
Autumn and Finny have been a couple since they were infants, doing everything together and needing no other companion.
She confides in him and he protects her. By sharing family dinners, sleepovers, and holidays, they are as close as friends can be.
A sudden growing apart between them
Autumn and Finny grow apart as she joins The Clique, a group of popular youngsters and girls, throughout the years. She devotes all of her time to activities with the girls.
However, this abruptly ceases when she decides not to pursue cheerleading like them. She and her companion, Sasha, are abruptly excluded.
She and she develop their own close-knit network of pals who share their uniqueness and are content with it. The group quickly forms couples, with Autumn pairing up with Jamie, an attractive and caring young man who enjoys taking care of her.
Finny, on the other hand, joins the popular group, which surprises Autumn. Moreover, he begins dating Sylvie, the epitome of popularity.
Schooling and growing
Both groups coexist within their school. Aware but oblivious. As children mature into adolescents, so do their connections and friendships.
Autumn absorbs the reassurances, given the precarious status of her parent’s marriage, while Jamie discusses marrying Autumn and promises to never leave her.
Jamie believes that her desire to become a writer cannot be her full-time occupation. Due to peer pressure, she does not permit them to sleep together in their relationship.
Although upset, Jamie agrees. She requests that he hold off until after graduation.
Overall, the group is engaging in experimentation and self-discovery. Autumn believes she loves Jamie, but one day, while reflecting on the past, she comes to a startling realization.
She is fond of Finny. Always have been. She recalls the night Finny kissed her in middle school when she didn’t know what to do and they drifted apart.
However, she represses her feelings and remains with Jamie.
Senior year of high school and several events
Senior year is full of transformation and personal development. Due to their participation in the same exercise class, Finny and Autumn have grown amicable. In fact, he advises her not to sleep with Jamie when intoxicated.
Soon, the prom will arrive, and everyone will be excited. Then, following the anxiety of tests, they graduate. A few days later, Jamie announces he’s coming over, and Autumn assumes it has to do with their agreement to sleep together. However, this is not why he has arrived.
He’s there to break up with her, stating she’s too much and too needy, especially during her wintertime depression episodes.
Importantly, he claims that he and Sasha had developed an affection for each other and even slept together a few weeks before the prom. Autumn severing links with each.
Finny and Autumn connect once again
Finny assists Autumn after her breakup, and the two go out for lunch and the movies. They spend time throughout Europe with Sylvie.
They renew their connection and feel comfortable with one another. Autumn finishes her unfinished novel and gives it to Finny to read. It is based loosely on their tale.
Finny confronts her about her abrupt departure, and she apologizes, admitting that she was foolish and self-centered. They discuss it and then ultimately kiss.
They embrace like long-lost lovers and make passionate love. They are so desperate that they forego protection.
The next day, Sylvie will arrive, and Finny has already decided to break up with her. The next day, it is difficult for them to split, but Finny cannot wait any longer. Autumn still desires his presence. He vows to return.
Later that evening, her sobbing mother arrives.
Ending: What Happen in the End
Finny passed away that day. His vehicle skidded on the road, sending Sylvie flying through the glass. Finnegan wore a seatbelt. The roads were slick, so he went out to check on her and was electrocuted by a frayed power wire in a puddle where he placed his hand.
Autumn does not attend college during that year. In the days between their birthdays, she makes a suicide attempt in his room.
She awakens in the hospital and discovers that she is pregnant. That Finny would not have wished for her to take a life. She feels that ultimately, everything will come out as it should.
With a horrific setting already established, you are emotionally raw and prepared to be destroyed. The “what if” questions that were present in Autumn become a part of the reader’s thoughts.
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