If You Come Softly

( 121 )

Overview

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock and after that they know they fit together -- even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in ...
See more details below
Paperback
$7.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (26) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $1.99   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
Note: Visit our Teens Store.

Overview

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock and after that they know they fit together -- even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way. Reviewers have called Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson's work "exceptional" (Publishers Weekly) and "wrenchingly honest" (School Library Journal), and have said "it offers a perspective on racism and elitism rarely found in fiction for this age group" (Publishers Weekly). In If You Come Softly, she delivers a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only...."

After meeting at their private school in New York, fifteen-year-old Jeremiah, who is black and whose parents are separated, and Ellie, who is white and whose mother has twice abandoned her, fall in love and then try to cope with people's reactions.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Sept.)
VOYA - Alison Kastner
For Ellie and Jeremiah it is love at first sight in this understated love story. Though the couple comes from different backgrounds, both have strange home lives. After his parents' divorce, Jeremiah's dad moved across the street and Jeremiah now spends his time going between his mother's and father's apartments. Ellie lives in a very large apartment with her mother and father, and they all seem to inhabit separate corners of a space that once housed a large family. Ellie's relationship with her mother, who has left the family twice, is strained. Estranged from both their families, Ellie and Jeremiah become the perfect couple, providing the security and love that they feel is lacking at home. Of course there is a complication: Ellie is white and Jeremiah is black. Ellie thinks that racism is a thing of the past, until she is heartbroken to discover that her favorite sister is racist. The couple is also surprised when they face hostility from perfect strangers, but they persevere and their relationship blossoms. This sweet story is filled with a sense of foreboding. In fact, Jeremiah is shot by a police officer who mistakes him for a crime suspect. In truth, Jeremiah is shot because he is an African American who is running (dribbling his basketball) after dark. While such incidents are all too common, this reader found herself wishing that Woodson had ended on a more optimistic note-the "happily-ever-after" ending is not always the predictable one-and wanted to know if Jeremiah and Ellie could have endured in the face of so much opposition. One positive note: Ellie forms a relationship with Jeremiah's mother and together they mourn their loss. The gentle and melancholy tone of this book makes it ideal for thoughtful readers and fans of romance. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's Jan. 1999 review of the hardcover edition: Woodson, author of the acclaimed From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun and other YA novels, once again tackles issues of bigotry and family in this poignant story about a tragic romance. Fifteen-year-old Jeremiah (called Miah) lives in a comfortable black neighborhood in Brooklyn, alternating between the homes of his separated parents and disturbed about their upcoming divorce. His father is a famous filmmaker and his mother is a renowned novelist, and Miah's father has convinced him that attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan would be a good idea. There Miah meets Ellie, a white, Jewish girl who's also new to the school. Ellie comes from a privileged background too, but her mother has abandoned the family twice and Ellie, the baby of the family and the only one left at home, doesn't trust her to stick around. Miah and Ellie fall deeply in love, and then must cope with the often-negative reactions of others to their interracial relationship, culminating in a terrible accident in Central Park. The title, from a poem by Audre Lorde, invites readers to see the world from Miah's and Ellie's eyes, as they tell their stories in alternating chapters and share their wonder and joy at first love and their conflicted feelings toward their families. Woodson succeeds in letting us into their hearts, and the story is gracefully told. An ALA Best Book for YAs and a BCCB Blue Ribbon Book. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Penguin/Puffin, 184p, 18cm, 97-32212, $4.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
The ALAN Review - Diana Mitchell
15-year-old Jeremiah usually deals with the constant pressure of choosing which of his separated parents to spend time with by losing himself in basketball. But this year is different. His father insists on sending him to a private school so Jeremiah has to deal with being one of only a handful of black students there and one of a few black players on the team. Then he meets Ellie, a Jewish girl at his school. They lock eyes and feel an instant affinity for each other. Told in alternating chapters by Ellie and Jeremiah, this is a gently told story of two teens in a biracial relationship and what happens to them and their families because of the assumptions made about black males in our society. The language is so beautiful and the attention to detail so focused that I felt I had been dropped into their lives and knew them and their families. The tragic ending makes a very strong statement about what its like to be a black male in America and what can happen when stereotypes are the basis for behavior towards others. The powerful message is haunting and I find myself turning the events of the book over and over again in my mind.
Kirkus Reviews
In a meditative interracial love story with a wrenching climactic twist, Woodson (The House You Pass on the Way, 1997, etc.) offers an appealing pair of teenagers and plenty of intellectual grist, before ending her story with a senseless act of violence. Jeremiah and Elisha bond from the moment they collide in the hall of their Manhattan prep school: He's the only child of celebrity parents; she's the youngest by ten years in a large family. Not only sharply sensitive to the reactions of those around them, Ellie and Miah also discover depths and complexities in their own intense feelings that connect clearly to their experiences, their social environment, and their own characters. In quiet conversations and encounters, Woodson perceptively explores varieties of love, trust, and friendship, as she develops well-articulated histories for both families. Suddenly Miah, forgetting his father's warning never to be seen running in a white neighborhood, exuberantly dashes into a park and is shot down by police. The parting thought that, willy-nilly, time moves on will be a colder comfort for stunned readers than it evidently is for Ellie. Miah's melodramatic death overshadows a tale as rich in social and personal insight as any of Woodson's previous books. (Fiction. 11-13)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142415221
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/7/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 187,651
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: HL570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

I couldn’t stop looking at him, at his smile and his hair. I had never seen locks up close. His were thick and black and spiraling down over his shoulders. I wanted to touch them, to touch his face. I wanted to hear him say his name again. For a moment we stared at each other, neither of us saying anything. There was something familiar about him, something I had seen before. I blinked, embarrassed suddenly, and turned away from him.

Then Jeremiah rose and I rose.

“Well . . . good-bye. I guess . . . I guess I’ll see you around,” he said softly, looking at me a moment longer before turning away and heading down the hall, his locks bouncing gently against his shoulders.

“Jeremiah,” I whispered to myself as I walked away from him. I could feel his name, settling around me, as though I was walking in a mist of it, of him, of Jeremiah.

ALSO BY JACQUELINE WOODSON

After Tupac and D Foster

Behind You

Beneath a Meth Moon

Between Madison and Palmetto

Brown Girl Dreaming

The Dear One

Feathers

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

The House You Pass on the Way

Hush

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This

Last Summer with Maizon

Lena

Locomotion

Maizon at Blue Hill

Miracle’s Boys

Peace, Locomotion

Table of Contents

At first sight

Also by Jacqueline Woodson

Title Page

Dedication

Copyright Page

 

Part One

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

 

Part Two

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

 

Questions for Discussion

An Excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming

An Excerpt from Behind You

The tide and the poem “If You Come Softly” by Audre Lorde are from
The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde published by W. W. Norton and reprinted by permission of the Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency.

SPEAK
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in the United States of America by G. P. Putnam’s Sons,
a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1998
Published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2003
Reissued by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2006

 

Copyright © Jacqueline Woodson, 1998

All rights reserved

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS EDITION AS
FOLLOWS:
Woodson, Jacqueline.
If you come softly / Jacqueline Woodson.
p. cm.
Summary: After meeting at their private school in New York,
fifteen-year-old Jeremiah, who is black and whose parents are separated,
and Ellie, who is white and whose mother has twice abandoned her,
fall in love and then try to cope with people’s reactions.

ISBN: 9781101076972

 

For the ones like Jeremiah

If you come as softly
as the wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees.

MY MOTHER CALLS TO ME FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE stairs, and I pull myself slowly from a deep sleep. It is June. Outside the sky is bright blue and clear. In the distance I can see Central Park, the trees brilliant green against the sky. I was dreaming of Miah.

“Elisha,” Marion calls again. She sounds worried and I know she is standing at the bottom of the stairs, her hand moving slowly up and down the banister, waiting for me to answer. But I can’t answer yet. Not now.

Is there a boy? Marion asked me that fall, when Miah was new. And I lied and told her there wasn’t one.

She is standing at the door now, her arms folded in front of her. “Time to get up, sweetie. Are you all right?”

I nod and continue to stare out the window, my hair falling down around my eyes, my pajamas hot and sticky against my skin.

No, Marion, there isn’t a boy. Not now. Not anymore.

She comes to the bed and sits beside me. I feel the bed sink down with the weight of her, smell her perfume.

“I dreamed about Miah last night,” I say softly, leaning my head against her shoulder. Outside, there are taxicabs blowing their horns. In the seconds of quiet between the noise, I can hear birds. And my own breathing.

Marion moves her hand over my head. Slowly. Softly. “Was it a good dream?”

I frown. “Yes ... I think so. But I don’t remember it all.”

“Remember what you can, Elisha,” Marion whispers, kissing me on the forehead. “Remember what you can.”

I close my eyes again.

And remember what I can.

Part One

The Ending

Jeremiah

YOU DO NOT DIE. YOUR SOUL STEPS OUT OF YOUR BODY, shakes itself hard because it’s been carrying the weight of your heavy skin for fifteen years. Then your soul lifts up and looks down on your body lying there—looks down on the blood running onto concrete, your eyes snapped open like the pages in some kid’s forgotten picture book, your chest not moving. Your soul sees this and feels something beyond sadness—feels its whole self whispering further away. Shhhh. Shhhh. Shhhh—past the trees in Central Park, past the statues and runners and children playing on swings. Shhhh. Shhhh. Shhhh. Over yellow taxicabs and late-afternoon flickering streetlights. Shhhh away from the dusting of snow, the white tips of trees, the darkening sky. Already you hear your mother screaming. Already you see your father dropping his head into his hands. Helpless. Already you see your friends—walking through the halls of Percy Academy. Stunned. But you do not die. Each breath your soul takes is cool and reminds you of a taste you loved a long time ago. Licorice. Peppermint. Rain. Then your soul is you all over again, only lighter and freer and able to be a thousand and one places at once. Your new soul eyes look around. See two cops standing there with their mouths hanging open. One cop curses and kicks a tree. Slowly your soul realizes it’s in a park. There are trees all around you. And both cops look scared.

He’s dead, one cop says.

And the other curses again. Your soul doesn’t like the way the curse word sounds. Too hard. Too heavy in the new soul-light air.

The cops can’t see you. They see a dead body on the ground—a young boy. A black boy. They know this is not the man they’d been looking for. They know they’ve made a mistake. Your soul looks at the boy and knows his friends called him Miah but his full name was Jeremiah Roselind. Tall. Dark. He has locks and the locks are spread over the ground. His eyes are opened wide. Greenish gray lifeless eyes. Your soul thinks—somebody loved that boy once. Thinks—once that boy was me. The wind blows the snow left, right and up. You are so light, you move with the wind and the snow. Let the weather take you. And it lifts you up—over a world of sadness and anger and fear. Over a world of first kisses and hands touching and someone you’re falling in love with. She’s there now. Right there. Look closely. Yeah. That’s her. That’s my Ellie.

The Hurting

Ellie

FOR A LONG TIME AFTER MIAH DIED, SO MANY PEOPLE DIDN’T sleep. At night, we lay in bed with our eyes wide open and watched the way night settled down over wherever we were. I was in a room on the Upper West Side, in a house my parents moved to a long time ago. Not a house—a duplex apartment in a fancy building with a doorman. My dad’s a doctor. My mother stays at home. I go to Percy Academy. Some people look at me and see a white girl in a uniform—burgundy jacket and gray skirt—and think, She has all the privilege in the world. I look back at them, thinking, If only you knew.

If only they knew how we were sprinkled all over the city—me in my big room, Nelia in her Fort Greene brownstone, Norman in his girlfriend’s apartment, aunts and uncles and cousins, even strangers—all over New York City—none of us slept. We lay there staring up at our ceilings or out into the darkness. Or some days we stopped in the middle of doing something and forgot what it was we were doing. We thought, Jeremiah’s dead. We whispered, Jeremiah’s dead. As if the whispering and the thinking could help us to understand. We didn’t eat enough. We peed only when the need to pee got so big, we thought we’d wet our pants. We pulled the covers off ourselves in the mornings then sat on the edge of our beds, not knowing what to do next. If those strangers looked, really looked into my privileged white girl face, they would have seen the place where I wasn’t even there. Where a part of me died too.

Miah died on a Saturday afternoon. That evening, the calls started coming. First his mom, Nelia, asking if Miah was still with me. Then his dad, Norman. Then the cops. Then silence. Silence that lasted into the night and into the next dawn. Then the phone ringing one more time and Nelia saying, Ellie, Miah’s been shot. . . .

 

I don’t remember much more than that. There was a funeral. There were tears. There were days and days spent in my bed. A fever maybe.

There was no more Miah.

No more Miah.

No more Miah and me.

Chapter 3

HE LOVED THE LIGHT IN HIS MAMA’S KITCHEN. THE yellow stained-glass panes across the top of the windows buttered the room a soft gold-even now, in the early evening with the rain coming down hard outside.

“Your daddy left a message,” his mama said. “Said he had to go out to L.A. Be back Sunday night. Left a number.”

“Guess I’m spending the week here then.” Jeremiah glanced out the kitchen window. There was no light on in his father’s apartment. He was glad he didn’t have to make a decision. Every night it was the same thing. You gonna stay here? You gonna stay here? His mama and daddy’s voices beating against the side of his head, begging him as if they were really saying, Choose me. No, choose me. For the hundredth time, no, maybe the thousandth time, he wished he had a brother or sister—somebody to go up against them with. Someone to help relieve some of the stuff they put him through. How long would it have to be like this anyway? Two addresses. Two phone numbers. Two bedrooms.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

ABOUT JACQUELINE WOODSON

Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King award, 2 National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

RELATED TITLES

Dancer
by Lorri Hewett
Stephanie works hard to pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballerina while coping with the pressures of her family expectations and those at her mostly white private school.

Lives of Our Own
by Lorri Hewett
African American Shawna and white schoolmate Kari defy the unspoken social standards of their small town as they work together to reveal a hidden community secret.

Money Hungry
by Sharon Flake
A period of homelessness and poverty has made Raspberry Hill determined to hoard as much cash as possible.

Monster
by Walter Dean Myers
Aspiring filmmaker Steve Harmon copes with his arrest for murder by relating his story as if it were a movie script.

145th Street
by Walter Dean Myers
The highs and lows of one Harlem neighborhood are explored in ten stories.

Othello: A Novel
by Julius Lester
This novelization of Shakespeare's classic play revisits the story of interracial love and tragedy.

Tears of a Tiger
by Sharon Draper
Andy Jackson, feels responsible for the death of his good friend, Robert, in a drunk driving accident.

Zack
by William Bell
Zack, the son of a African American mother and a Jewish father, experiences racial rejection for the first time when his family moves from Toronto to a small college town, and feels a need to connect with his family history.

OTHER BOOKS BY JACQUELINE WOODSON

Last Summer with Maizon
Reissue available Summer 2002
HC: 0-399-23755-0
PB:TK

Between Madison and Palmetto
Reissue available Fall 2002
HC: 0-399-23757-7
PB: TK

Maizon at Blue Hill
Reissue available Fall 2002
HC: 0-399-23576-9
PB: TK

AN INTERVIEW WITH JACQUELINE WOODSON

Why do you write for young adults?

I think it's an important age. My young adult years had the biggest impact on me of any period in my life and I remember so much about them. When I need to access the physical memories and/or emotional memories of that period in my life, it isn't such a struggle. And kids are great.

The issue of identity is central to the three books under discussion, yet each seems to approach this topic differently. Was this a deliberate choice on your part? What does each of these stories say about the teen characters and their struggles to define themselves?

Identity has always been an important and very relevant issue for me. For a lot of reasons, I've been 'assigned' many identities. From a very young age, I was being told what I was—black, female, slow, fast, a tomboy, stubborn—the list goes on and on. And this happens with many children as they are trying to become. So that by the time we're young adults, no wonder we're a mess!! There are so many ways we come to being who we are, so many ways in which we search for our true selves, so many varying circumstances around that search. No two people are alike but every young person is looking for definition. My journey as a writer has been to explore the many ways one gets to be who they are or who they are becoming.

What drew you to the telling of the interracial love story in If You Come Softly? What aspects of this relationship did you want to illuminate for young readers?

A story comes to me from so many angles. When I first started writing If You Come Softly, I thought I was writing a modern Romeo and Juliet. I kept asking myself "What would be different if Romeo and Juliet was being written today?" But when I was younger, I was also deeply affected by the death of Edmund Perry—an African-American boy who was attending prep school and while home on break, was shot by cops. After the death of Perry, I took notice everytime a young black man was shot by cops—which is too often—and later found innocent. I also knew as I was writing this book that I wanted to say "Love who you want. Life is too short to do otherwise." All of this and I'm sure a lot more was there at my desk with me as I sat down each day to work on this book.

What do you do differently, if anything, when you tell a story from a male perspective?

When I'm writing from a male perspective, I try to imagine myself as a boy and I really try to remember as much as I can about the guys I knew and know. It's very different than creating girl characters but I love the challenge of it.

Although these are very different stories, they each reflect what can happen to African Americans when they are impacted by the criminal justice system. What do you want your readers to understand about this?

I don't really know what I want readers to understand. I know what it helps me to understand—that the criminal justice system has historically not worked for African-Americans, that the percentage of people of color as compared to whites in jail, killed by cops, racially profiled and constantly singled out is unbalanced. I want the system to be different and the only way that it can change is if the way our society looks at race changes. And the only way that can happen is if people really start paying attention and making a decision to create change.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Describe Ellie's relationship with her mother and her father. How have her relationships been influenced by things that happened in the past. How is Ellie's life different from her older siblings?
     
  2. Ellie expected Anne to understand about Miah. Describe their relationship when they were younger. Why did Anne react the way she did? What change did this cause between Ellie and Anne?
     
  3. Why does Ellie fear her parents' reactions to Miah?
     
  4. How do Miah's famous parents impact his life? How does he handle the reactions of his peers when they learn about his father? What happens when Ellie learns about them? Should he have told her earlier? Why or why not?
     
  5. Miah is close to both of his parents. How have they tried to build his self- image? What characteristics does he get from each of them? How is he affected by their separation?
     
  6. How do teachers and students attempt to stereotype Miah? How does he handle these incidents?
     
  7. Ellie doesn't have any close girlfriends from her old school or at Percy Academy. What do you think a girlfriend would have said about her relationship with Miah? What advice would you have given Ellie and why?
     
  8. Miah has a friend Carlton who is mixed racially but considers himself African American. What issues do biracial and mixed racial people face?
     
  9. If You Come Softly deals with a classic theme of the challenge of loving someone outside of your own group. Name some other well-known couples that faced similar challenges.
     
  10. The story begins and ends nearly three years after Miah's death. What has happened in Ellie's life? How do you think she handled the tragedy?
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 121 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(92)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 122 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Love this book

    This is an amazing book. It really touched me. I strongly recommend this book to any young readers in search of a fantastic read. As a 12-year-old, I cam say this is one of my personal favorites

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Black Boy, White Girl

    Jeremiah Roselind is an intelligent black teenage boy who has to attend a fancy prep school. He bumps into Ellie Eisen, a white girl, in the hallway, and they are immediately attracted to one another. Disapproving glances, whispering voices, snide remarks -it isn't the reactions from other people that tear this young couple apart before their relationship has a real chance to grow, but a tragic event. This is an interesting, well-written story about interracial dating. I was saddened by the ending.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2000

    Touching Romance

    If You Come Softly in my opinion is the best book I have ever read. It explains a 'true love' and is written beautifully. My friends and I gave it ' 8 thumbs up.'

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Truly Touching

    The book If You Come Softly really touched me. I was bawling like a baby when I finished this book. Thinking about the innocence that was so alive throughout the description of Ellie and Miah's romance gives me the chills. It was an amazing read that really stuck a cord in me, because it was just two people that were in love and the serious things about their romance weren't overpowering and unrealistic but perfectly put in.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    Great

    I may only be 11, but this is, hands down, the best book I have ever read. Jaqueline Woodson made me cry in this wonderful, captivating story of interracial young love. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank this book 85.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Best book!

    I loved this book so much. Its is a quick read and worth every second. My copy is ripping apart I have read it so many times. A great book about love and loss. Amazing writing, amazing plot line, an amazing book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    One of my all time favs <3

    I read this book more than 10 years ago when I was a preteen. I loved it! I have lost track of how many times I have read it over the years. I for sure recommend this to young girls!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

    Excellent Book!

    If you come softly is a wonderful book which is written by Jacqueline Woodson. This book is about an African American whose name is Jeremiah, who used to go to a public school somewhere in Brooklyn. He is pretty courageous and satisfied about how he is doing so well in basketball. His father is an African American filmmaker, who makes Jeremiah attend a professional private school, which is an All-White School for wealthy kids. His mother is a unique novelist writer. Ellie, who also attends the private school named Percy, is a Strong and is very less trustful to her mother. Her mother had left her and the rest of her family to go to "explore" and also says that she needs to be by herself. Ellie is a little heartbroken who learns to let go of that situation. They both have some sort of problem in their family. Ellie and Jeremiah bump into each other in the Percy Hallway and both of their eyes meet at the same time. They fall in love, instantly. They think that they are both almost close to perfect together. Even though Jeremiah is black and Ellie is white, they don't let that effect their relationship. They don't care what people think and that's what I absolutely like about it. The bad thing is there is a tragic event that happens.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 13, 2011

    okay read

    the story was short but it was a good book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Amazing book

    This is probably my favorite book and as an avid reader that's saying a lot. This was such a sad book for a couple of reasons. One being the ridicule miah and ellie receive from people because they aren't the same race. The end of the book absolutely breaks my heart. It was also very well written. Go percy sledge!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Best book

    So touching

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Good book but sad

    It was well written but kinda sad. Worth the money

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Amazing and touching book :)

    This book is the first book I read for summer reading, and I am in love with it. The story itself was so different and inspiring, I couldn't stop reading it. The ending was so sad too... the book is so well written. I definitely reccomend reading this book, especially to teen and preteen girls like me :) definitely read it! It's worth the money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2009

    My review of If You Come Softly

    If you come softly was not the best book i have ever read. it was okay. I understood the interracial concept of the book, but i feel the writing didnt truly and fully captivate the message. A big issue i had with the book was the writing. The author switched first person and third person quit often throught the book, in which made me confused. Another issue was the ending of the book- it didnt make sense. Did Miah die or what? the book is about two young teenagers who falls in love at first site despite the color of their skin. Both Miah and ellie semmed so in love. At the end of the book in chapter 24, both ellie's family and miah's family come together has if Miah died or something. The last few sentence of chapter 23 says "Again, just like that day, Jeremiah felt a sudden, terrible sadness. And the nothing at all." On chapter 26 it reads- "There is a plaque outside the gym at Percy. It reads In Memory of Jeremiah Roselind. Somewhere someone will always be calling your name." What happened to Jeremiah did he kill himself. If he did, it doesnt make sense because why would someone who loves someone with their every being in their body want to end their life. Plus the author doesnt seem to convey Ellie's fellings towards the lost of Jeremiah, if that is what happened. After finishing this novel I anticipated i was left disappointed and confused!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 27, 2009

    excellent read

    I would recommend this book to adults and teens. I read this for a YA lit class I am taking for my teaching program. I couldn't put it down. Written in first and third person provides to perspectives of the same story. Book could also be bridged loosely to Romeo and Juliet. Great read for teens to lead to discussions of race, stereotypes, family expectations and identity.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 24, 2008

    Love & Interracial Relationships

    Miah and Jeremiah. Both teenagers. Miah is Jewish. Jeremiah is black. They meet at their private school in New York. Love at first sight. It brings up the tough question about interracial relationships. I recommend it for those young ones who love romance novels.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    A great book for sure. Kind of got confused at the end when he saw a sudden light but other than that is was a great book. Kept the tension throughout the book making the reader wish that there was a sequel. Amazing writing strategy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    I really enjoyed it.

    I really liked the book and enjoyed how they made it relate to students my age. I would like to read more books by this author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2008

    love

    I love this book it's so interesting it keep's you reading no matter what. It had me up all night.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    Beautiful Book

    'If You Come Softly' is a beautiful story. It follows Ellie, a white girl, and Jeremiah, a black boy, as they meet and fall in love. Their relationship is made complex by outside forces-mostly because of race. I was able to relate to Ellie because she feels the same kind of emotions I do, such as fear, uncertainity, and yet a hope for the future. I loved Jeremiah because he was such a strong,sweet character. He was srong but he also had insecurities. Jacqueline Woodson uses clear, piercing prose that reaches deep inside you. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a little romance but also a read that makes them think and stretch.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 122 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)