There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn’t ready for anyone to know she’s bisexual.
But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa — Maggie’s ex and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling.
As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.
Title : Who I Was With Her
Author : Nita Tyndall
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Harper 360
Release Date : September 15, 2020
Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
I went from being unsure about this book to being impressed by the end. This was definitely the kind of story that built into a fuller appreciation of the characters. WHO I WAS WITH HER was a story of loss, grief, discovery, confusion and pressure to come-out. There were definitely difficult themes here but they were written with sensitivity and realism in terms of the age of the characters.
The story plunged the reader into the immediate death of Corrine’s girlfriend, Maggie and it was a tough start. I felt a little jarred by this but in retrospect, I get why this was the right way to start the narrative. The author used past and present really well to tell the story both of Maggie and Corrine but also the story of Maggie’s understanding of her own bi-sexuality. All the time frames were very clear.
Corrine was understandably messed up by Maggie’s death, but being unable to talk to anyone about her loss was a tough ride. She was closeted to her friends and family and finding someone to talk to was crucial to her being able to get through those early days of grief. Corrine made some rushed decisions and you could judge she was foolish but I totally got why she did some of the things she did; it felt realistic.
I loved her friendship with Julia, how they evolved to understand one another. I liked how Julia’s self discovery was a conduit for Corrine. I was less enamoured by her friendship with Elissa but the need for this outlet became clear. Corrine’s home life, her running life, college expectations and closeted-life all came to a cresendo. I appreciated the culmination and how things were resolved.
I feel that this story is potentially important for young people who aren’t out. There shouldn’t be any pressure from anyone to be out until you’re ready. I think this story tackled those issues well and I’d definitely like to read Nita Tyndall again.
Please be sure to check out some own voices reviews on this one too.
Thank you to Harper 360 for the review copy.