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If You Come Softly Paperback – January 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (January 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142415227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142415221
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Once again, Woodson (I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This) handles delicate, even explosive subject matter with exceptional clarity, surety and depth. In this contemporary story about an interracial romance, she seems to slip effortlessly into the skins of both her main characters, Ellie, an upper-middle-class white girl who has just transferred to Percy, an elite New York City prep school, and Jeremiah, one of her few African American classmates, whose parents (a movie producer and a famous writer) have just separated. A prologue intimates heartbreak to come; thereafter, sequences alternate between Ellie's first-person narration and a third-person telling that focuses on Jeremiah. Both voices convincingly describe the couple's love-at-first-sight meeting and the gradual building of their trust. The intensity of their emotions will make hearts flutter, then ache as evidence mounts that Ellie's and Jeremiah's "perfect" love exists in a deeply flawed society. Even as Woodson's lyrical prose draws the audience into the tenderness of young love, her perceptive comments about race and racism will strike a chord with black readers and open the eyes of white readers ("Thing about white people," Jeremiah's father tells him, "they know what everybody else is, but they don't know they're white"). Knowing from the beginning that tragedy lies just around the corner doesn't soften the sharp impact of this wrenching book. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-Two 15 year olds, Jeremiah (Miah) who is black, and Elisha (Ellie) who is white, meet during their first year at an exclusive New York prep school and fall in love. Both teens are also dealing with difficult family situations. Miah's father has left his mother for another woman, and Ellie is trying to fight through her feelings about her mother, who twice abandoned her family for extended periods. The teenagers must also deal with the subtle and not-so-subtle bigotry that they are subject to as a mixed-race couple. Miah and Ellie go about working through their problems, both individually and together, and their relationship continues to blossom, giving readers a shared sense of contentment. Thus, the tragic climax will leave them stunned. Woodson's lyrical narrative tells the story through alternating voices, Ellie's in the first person and Miah's in the third. This fine author once again shows her gift for penning a novel that will ring true with young adults as it makes subtle comments on social situations.
Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson's awards include 3 Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors, 2 National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award -- both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. She is the author of more than 2 dozen books for children and young adults and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York

Customer Reviews

Jacquline Woodson wrote this book so beautifully.
nicole
I loved the way they both had family problems to deal with and the both could talk about it with eachother.
Loved It
When I first got the book, I knew what was going to happen in the end.
Erica

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bakari Chavanu on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've recommened this book for my students to read because I think it provides a love story woven together with much needed insights about race, racism, and personal relationships. Woodson writes about these issues critically without being preachy.
It would be a great to teach this work at the 7-9th grade level, for often students will miss the subtle points the author is making about race and racism.
I look forward to more books like this being written.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By brittany on October 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
If You Come Softly has to be the best book I have ever read. I am a freshman in high school. I was the first person in my class to read it. This book really touched me. A lot of my friends say that they are in love but after reading this book they changed their minds. Miah and Ellie really LOVED each other. I don't think that I will ever find love like that. There is someone out there for everyone they just happened to be of a different race. I think this book should be required for freshman in high school to read. They would really enjoy it. I know I did!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Johannes on February 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I should have known better...I've been touched by Jaqueline Woodson's writing before.
I picked up If You Come Softly after one of my 6th grade students recommended it to me. I read the first few chapters effortlessly, and when someone asked me what it was about, I simply said, "Not much." You see--it's not an in your face narrative. It's simple and soft, and the alternating perspectives are hardly noticed--all signs of outstanding writing. I was halfway through the book before I realized the gentle power of the story.
Ellie and Miah attend the same school and have similar views of the world, but they are so different that their sudden love for each other seems impossible. Ellie is the white daughter of a distantly married couple; her numerous brothers and sisters are older and have moved throughout the country. Miah is the black son of celebrities who have recently separated. Both teenagers attend the exclusive Percy School, which is where they meet by chance and fall in love. Despite the stares and whispers, they choose to stay together and learn more about each other. Their love is mature and real (and the author spares us from unnecessary sex scenes). We know from page one that tragedy awaits this relationship, but it doesn't damper the unfolding of their relationship and our interest in the potential of their lives. They love each other innocently and completely, and they tip-toe cautiously into the world of each other's families.
Woodson demonstrates a world view through the voices of these two high school characters--they understand more about race relations than most adults do. There are times, however, when their views of races seems too simplistic--perhaps this was intentional, or perhaps this is Woodson's own view.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charmaine O'Neil on March 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
I can't believe it. I picked up this novel after some silly english test and was just using it to pass the time during that class period. Well, i ended up falling in love with it. Swift, just like Ellie and Miah. Who would have guessed?

Ellie and Miah are High School sophmores going to Percy Academy together. When they literally collide into each other in the hall. cliche but it worked, quite well actually. They meet and have the sweetest romance ever. GOSH i wish i could find a guy willing to take me to the park and ask to kiss me. Then hold my hand...*sigh*

The author does an excellent job of portraying the prejudice that most of us have when we see an interracial couple walking hand-in-hand. But the prejudice doesnt stifle the love between Eliie and Miah, and that is more important and a stronger aspect of the book.

The end is tragic. I cannot and will not tell you, a potential reader, the outcome of the book. Needless to say that i cried, and when a novel can make someone cry, then it is definately worth the time it takes.

It took me 2 days to finish. Even if your a slow reader, it will not take long.

Please Read and Enjoy.

Yours Truly
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie Gillespie on July 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read about this book in an article. So i decided to check it out. Well i thought the book was so wonderful and enlighting. You got envolved with the characters and there story line. For all you who love tear-jerkers this book has it,but thats not what the book is about. It really opened my mind and made me see things a little different.No matter what race you are it will make u think a little different. The main theme is a girl whos white and jewish and a boy who black. They run with a momnet and end up falling in love. I think everyone will love this book.
Its hard to put it down once you get going. I really enjoyed reading this and i think u will too. It really touched me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miss Opinionated on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
If You Come Softly is an outstanding novel that Woodson delivers beautifully, and will leave you pondering a question when you near the conclusioin, as to why the world looks upon love and race so negatively. Many in the world feel that relationships need to stay in the race and no one should ever date outside the race. But isn't change good? Woodson delivers the topic of racial differences and love in a modest yet eye-opening manner.

Woodson depicts two characters Jeremiah and Elisha who are of a different ethnic background, but are drawn to each because of their love for one another.

As Jeremiah and Elisha struggle with the similarites and differences they are facing such as school,getting prepared for college, how to express their feelings for each other, and how to deal with what the world sees as "not appropiate" , they find out that despite their racial differences they are very much alike.

Jeremiah and Elisha discover they attend the same high school unwillingly, and find out that there is more to a person than just judging them from what they see on the outside, or by their color. Spending more time together initiates a relationship, and they fall in love. Now this is more than just your typical fairytail ending, the conclusion is what really takes your breath away and if you had to wipe a tear from your eye, join the club.

If You Come Softly goes beyond the notion of two teenagers falling in love with each other in high school, but expresses the emotional issues that they have to deal with digging deeper into what really goes on in a relationship. Woodson leaves you astounded and makes you ponder about the real issues facing todays society.

Do not hesitate to read this novel over and over again, and if this is your first time hearing of If You Come Softly, place this on your Winter or Summer reading list, because Woodson delivers this piece outstandingly!
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