Throughout their whole childhood, Finny and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other’s sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and  Autumn has always wondered what if…

The night she’s about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.

“The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut . . .Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations . . . Readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.” -Kirkus Reviews

“This sweet, authentic love story masks complex characters dealing with complex issues: single parents, divorce, only children yet ersatz siblings; high school, college, the pull of the clique; love, friendship, sex, and teen pregnancy . . . First-time author Nowlin keeps the story real and fast paced, avoiding the melodramatic.” -Booklist

137 thoughts on “About IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

  1. I’ve read the book If He had Been With Me countless times, and I never grow bored of it. Each time as I read the ending, I cry for Finn and Autumn and even The Mothers. The ending makes me feel and get emotional, but I guess I enjoy books that make the reader feel something. At the end, I am curious, they said Autumn’s mother’s depression could be genetic, would Autumn commit suicide for Finn’s death? And what becomes of Autumn after Finn’s death? I’m put through torture all the time by wondering. The ending is the best part, yet it isnt satisfying! But Thank you sooo much for writing this book. Its my favorite book.

    1. Hi Josahina, thank you so much for your message. Autumn won’t commit suicide because she is probably pregnant. I know the ending doesn’t tie up neatly, but in real life things never do, and I wanted the story to be realistic. Thank you again for your message, it means the world to me to hear from readers!

      1. Hi Adamari,
        Thanks for your message. Finny died because, well, people die. Someday someone you love will die unexpectedly; that’s just a fact of life. I want young people to read IHHBWM and realize that they shouldn’t take anyone they love for granted, because life is unpredictable and sometimes cruel.

      2. this book is … breathtaking … i feel every person can relate to this someway . i read this book last year , and i’ve told all my friends about it and even they started reading too ! too bad there aren’t enough copies in our schools library . this will always be my favorite book . they absolutely need to make a movie out of this !

  2. Hi Laura! I just wanted to let you know that this is honestly my favorite book and it’s really got a place in my heart. I am now convinced that my first child’s name will be Autumn lol. I’ve read it about 5 times now and every time it just gets better. You really are amazing and have such a way with words. I’m very excited to read your next book. I hope you’re feeling better as well.

    Love, Angela

    1. Hi Angela!
      Thanks for your message! It would be such an honor if you were to name your child for Autumn! If that ever happens, PLEASE let me know! I have been feeling better, modern medicine is amazing! Thanks for contacting me, and keep reading!

  3. I just purchased this book and finished it all in one day, it was that good! I knew what was coming but the heartbreak I felt at the end of this book was devastating! I connected so much with the characters to the point I felt like I was a part of the story and I really wish Autumn got her “fairytale ending”. It was heartbreaking knowing how much pain she was in from Finnys death and I really hope there will be some sort of epilogue to Autumns story because I want to know more about what happens to her! I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED this book! I seriously couldn’t/didn’t want to put it down. You are an amazing author and I can’t wait to read your next book!

    1. Thank you so much Breanna! I appreciate your message so much. Autumn ends up okay, but that’s really all I can say. I don’t have plans to write about her again, I think I’ve put her through enough. I do have a new novel that just came out this month though. Thank you again for your message; hearing from readers means the world to me.

  4. I bought this book not even a full month after it had been released and it has been my favorite ever since. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve read it and I can honestly say I don’t think any another book will EVER replace it in my heart. I read it at a time where I needed it the most and even to this day I cry like a baby! I torture myself doing so but it’s okay because I just love it that much. I swear when I saw it made the NY Times bestselling list I jumped up and down screaming with excitement. When I finally decide on the perfect spot I WILL have an autumn leaf tattoo because she’ll forever hold that spot in my heart. I’m so excited that this book is totally getting the hype it deserves and I can not wait to start your next book! (:

    1. Thanks so much Larissa! It means the world to me that you love the book so much! Please send me a pic if/when you get that tattoo! I hope you enjoy the next book; I want to warn you though, it is very different from IHHBWM. Thanks again for your message and for reading!

  5. I just read If He Had Been With Me in about 5 hours and now I can’t stop crying! It was such and amazing book and I absolutely loved it! it makes me want to write stories of my own! Telling all my friends they need to read the story by the female John Green!

  6. Laura, I read this book for the first time in 8th grade and completely fell in love. I am now 17 and continue to read it every year and love it even more! You really inspired me to write and I would really love for you to write another book, you’re writing technique is astonishing!

    1. Hi Kaylyn, Thanks so much for your message, sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I actually have another novel out THIS SONG IS (NOT) FOR YOU, though it is very different from IHHBWM.

  7. This was one of the greatest books I have ever read. I’ve actually read this book 7 times and I just got done with it today again. I’ve been through what she has. July 5, 2017 my boyfriend got in a car accident and he didn’t make it. Every time I read your book it reminds me of him of everything we did together. I would love to know what happens after though im curious. Right now im a junior in highschool and I’ve been reading this book since I started freshman year. I am now 16 and still reading it.

    1. Hi Neomi,
      Please forgive the lateness of my reply. I am so sorry about your boyfriend. I lost a close friend in high school, so I know how stunning such a loss can be. I hope you have found a way to grieve for and honor your boyfriend in such a way that allows you to move on with life. The one thing that life has taught me is that we never “get over” the death of a loved one, we just find a way to make the wound a part of ourselves and our story.
      I honestly don’t have much information to give you about after the book; the story is done for me. I can say that Autumn is probably pregnant; I can tell you that whether or not she is pregnant, she finds a way to cling to the strength and hope Finny gave her and to move on with her life. I’m sorry if this isn’t the answer you wanted, but I’m not one for writing sequels, even in my head. Again, let me say that I am so sorry for your loss; I hope your Senior year is full of joy and happy memories.

    2. Dear Laura,
      Wow, not only are you an amazing writer, but an inspiration. I understand why you wrote the ending the way you did. Thank you for reminding me not to take love for granted. You also reminded me that we don’t always get happy endings. Your book broke my heart and shattered my soul. I could not stop sobbing. I felt like my world had come to an end. That’s how powerful of an author you are. I felt like I could definitely relate to Autumn. Thank you for sharing your story. I aspire to be a great author like you when I grow up. Reading stories like this remind me why life and love is so important. I’ve never felt that type of love for someone before. I hope one day I find my own Finny. It’s stories like this that contribute to change. I believe that literature is timeless. When I re read your book I’m sure I’ll see things through a different lense. Because right now I’m a 16 year old girl who’s never been in love. Autumn and Finny taught me the value of friendship and how love will always be worth it. For that I thank you. You inspired me to not take love or anything for granted.

      1. Lauren,
        Thanks so much for your message. You took everything I could hope from the book. I’m so glad you loved it, and thanks so much for reading and rereading! I wish for you a life full of love and friendship.

  8. Laura, I read this book twice in eighth grade and I’m still fangirling about it. It was unlike any other young adult books that I have read before because I felt that Autumn’s character and just how you depicted teens was truly relatable. I related to Autumn extensively and I have never felt like that with other books that I have read before. I want to thank you for writing this book because it was sad and beautiful at the same time.

    1. Malley, thanks for so much for writing to me a whole year ago; I had just had a baby when you wrote to me and since them I have been really behind on keeping up with the website. I love hearing from readers, and you truly cannot know how much this message means to me. Messages like yours make all of the work and anxiety that comes with writing/publishing worth it. Thanks for reading, thanks for the message. I hope your life is full of many wonderful books that touch your heart.

  9. Truly one of the best books I have ever read. Like Autumn says – sad things are sometimes beautiful. This book is one of those things.
    I do have a question though. I think it would be so amazing to read this story from Finny’s perspective. I realize that he does die in the end, but something about the story abruptly ending would make me love it even more. Is this a possibility? Are you writing it now? Please tell me you are! Your novels truly are works of sad, beautiful art.

    1. Thank you so much Seldyn it always means the world to me when I hear form readers. Thanks for reading, and thanks for letting me know that you loved it.

      I will not be writing the book from Finny’s point of view. I have nothing else to say, and there are other books calling for me to write them. You will have to settle for rereading IHHBWM and imagining what Finny is thinking. 🙂 Thanks again.

  10. Hi my name is Ashley, and I want to say I absolutely love your book. But I have to say I’m a little confused. Autumn has been through much with her Moms depression, he dad never being there, their divorce, Janie cheating on her with her best friend. And it’s Finny who get her through it all. So I guess my question is, why did Finny have to die? Who is going to get Autumn through this? And is she ever going to be ok? Like I need closer, I need to know why and what happens to Autumn. Does she end up having is baby or was just late? Does she find love again?

      1. Autumn is allowed to be happy. If you look back, there are many instances of her being happy within IHHBWM. But, life is messy. Horrible things happen to everyone; we all will have people in our life who let us down, we will all have someone we love die unexpectedly. My intentions with the end of the book are to show that even in the darkness, there is still hope; that’s why the book ends with hope, but not closure.
        Autumn is probably pregnant. That’s really all I want to say though. In real life there are no guarantees, no certainties, and the only closure we will ever really get is our own death. Autumn is probably pregnant, and she will find happiness again, but there will be other tragedies, other hardships before her life is over, because that’s just how life is for everyone.
        I hope that when tragedy strikes in your own life, when your own struggles seem to be more than you can handle, you will remember Autumn and hang on to hope.

  11. hello laura! i would just like to say that a.) you are an amazing writer and IHHBWM moved me entirely to the fact where i cleared my entire sunday schedule to start and finish the book. now i’m a little behind on homework but whatever the book was so amazing!!!!! also b.) the fact that you made finny such a lovable and adoring character made it so much more heartbreaking when i reached the last chapter. i honestly debated on stopping but knew i had to finish. i absolutely adored the friendship and eventual relationship between autumn and finny and was crushed when i got to the last 15 pages and remembered the start of the novel. it seems so unfair that once autumn is truly happy, it is taken away from her. i understand why you did it (to encourage readers to not take love for granted) but still it was so sad 😦 anyways, just wanted to tell you that it was still an amazing book and one my current favorites! good luck in the future!

    1. Alexa,
      Thanks so much for your message! I love hearing from readers and knowing that my work touched someone makes everything worth it. Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to contact me. I hope your coming year is happy and productive.

  12. When I first read this novel in eighth grade, I didn’t really understand the depth of the story. Now that I’m a senior, and have read it more times than I can count, I see how so many elements of the story align with my life. When my best friend got me a plastic tiara as a funny Christmas gift, I wore it around all winter break just so I could feel like Autumn. I had preconceived ideas of what Wuthering Heights was going to be like when I read it junior year. I understood the pain Autumn felt when Jamie finally told her that he was cheating. This story just gives me this indescribable wave of emotions, and I love it. I know you’ve said a million times that you’re finished with this story, but I just want to truly thank you for writing such a masterpiece. It will remain in my heart forever.

    1. Megan, Thanks so much for your message. I cannot articulate how much it means to me to know that my writing has meant something to someone. Even though your message isn’t the first of it’s kind, every time I reicieve a message like this it blows me away. Thanks for reading and for writing to me.

  13. Once I finished this book l, I was like NOOOOO, I truly could not stop crying but literally by far the best book I have ever read. such an amazing book

  14. I just finished this book almost 20 minutes ago, but the tears still won’t stop coming down my face. My heart is literally broken right now! I knew something was going to happen to him, but I was hoping he would still make it through! I can’t get over the part where he said, “After this, things are going to be the way they were always supposed to be..”. They were supposed to end up together! I loved their relationship and really wanted this for them… On another note… I too lost my boyfriend in a car accident in 2017. When I was reading the lines where Autumn says if he had been with me he would still be alive, if he had been with me everything would have been different… I too said those same words. We fought before this happened and I’ve always told myself if only he was with me and we wouldn’t have fought this wouldn’t have happened.. this really spoke to me… I have yet to be able to move on and even told myself I would be writing a letter to him to see if that brought closure… your book in some way.. has helped me. I’m still crying and hurt but at the same time.. I feel I needed this. Thank you.

    1. Crystal,
      I am so, so sorry for your loss. I wrote the book to inspire others to be honest about their feelings before it’s too late, but you learned this lesson all on your own. I’m so glad that the book has helped you. I think writing a letter to him is a wonderful idea and I hope it helps you. Please take care of yourself and remember that life is hard, but it’s always worth living.

  15. I just bought this book yesterday and it is already my favorite book of the month. The ending of the book makes me so sad but in a good way if that makes any sense. I want to write a book so bad, do you have any tips on how to get started?

    1. Thanks so much for your message.
      The best writing advice I have is to just do it. I know it sounds corny, but you just have to get started writing; don’t wait. Even if it isn’t coming out how you want it to, you just keep pushing forward and revising until you find the voice. Good luck!

  16. I just finished IHHBWM today and i can’t stop crying and wanted to say that you are best writer ever and i cant believe how much your book has related to me and how i feel and made me feel not alone and the ending broke my heart and still is and i’m so so so happy i read this but so broken hearted. You made this book so realistic and not like a typical ending to a story and made it real. I’m glad that you taught me that don’t take things for granted and don’t hold back anymore. Thank you.. so much love is towards you.

    1. Dear Neveah,
      Thanks so much for your message. All any writer wants to hear is that they made someone feel less alone. I’m so glad you loved the book. Stay safe and sanitized. ❤

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