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If You Come Softly (1998)

by Jacqueline Woodson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: If You Come Softly (1)

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1,1255118,245 (4.03)28
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.
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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
TBR 9/11/23
  C_Dean | Sep 11, 2023 |
A gut punch of a YA interracial love story. Woodson writes beautifully, as always, and knows how to wallop you right in the feels. ( )
  electrascaife | Dec 14, 2022 |
somehow this is just so beautifully written. i don't even know what it is about it, but it's just lovely. this is a beautiful little book, that is much more powerful than it seems like it should be. and somehow, in spite of the world we live in, i didn't see the ending coming.

(and the audio readers were both excellent. i particularly liked the reader for jeremiah, but they both were so very good.) ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Aug 1, 2022 |
4/7/22
  laplantelibrary | Apr 7, 2022 |
You know how sometimes the question goes around about the one book you'd want everyone to read?

This is it. This is my choice.

I first read this book in middle school and have never forgotten the impact it had on me. During this reread, I wasn't just reading it through an adult lens, but through the lens of my 13-year-old self.

Even though this time I knew what happens, this book punched me just as much as it did so many years ago. Woodson's utterly poetic writing pulls you in, wraps you tightly, makes your emotions soar, and drags them back down again.

This book deals with so many identities and dynamics: race, Jewishness, queerness, money, divorce, family, growing up, fitting in, the ways they all intersect. It explores so many relationships, multiple dimensions and types of each: siblings, parent/child, romantic couples, friends.

The more I think about it, the more I realize just how formative this book was to my younger self, especially on the stupidity and senselessness and wrongness of racism. Even when I was 13, I recognized the reality of the book's ending. I hated it, wished the story could have ended differently, but never did I think it wasn't realistic. And that's what bothered me the most. That's what still bothers me, because the depictions of racism are still staggeringly relevant today.

Woodson wrote a devastatingly impactful book that should be required reading for everyone. ( )
  hissingpotatoes | Dec 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jacqueline Woodsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Evangelista, TheresaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lockard, GuyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marie, JorjeanaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For the ones like Jeremiah
The Alexander - Grossman Family
First words
My mother calls to me from the bottom of the stairs, and I pull myself slowly from a deep sleep.
Quotations
If you come as softly
as the wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees

And if you come I will be silent
Nor speak harsh words to you.
I will not ask you why, now.
Or how, or what you do.

We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
And the rich earth between us
Shall drink our tears
He wondered where that stuff went to, where love went to, how a person could just love someone one day and boom-- the next day love somebody else.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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Book description
Elisha, a Jew falls in love with Jeremiah who is black. They both entered the relationship knowing the obstacles they were going to face as a result of their different racial backgrounds. Their love was strong enough to stand the hardships they experienced. They each brought out the best in each other and performed very well at school. Jeremiah had courage to introduce Elisha to his mother. However, Elisha was not sure how her parents would react. Her sister had disapproved of her dating a Black when she first announced her crush on Jeremiah. The day she was going to introduce him, he was shot by the police for being in a wrong place at the wrong time (a black man in a white neighborhood).
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