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If You Come Softly
Cover of If You Come Softly
If You Come Softly
If You Come Softly Series, Book 1
A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson—now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and...
A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson—now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and...
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  • A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson—now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and including a new preface by the author

    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.
     
    Jacqueline Woodson's work has been called “moving and resonant” (Wall Street Journal) and “gorgeous” (Vanity Fair). If You Come Softly is a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only . . ."

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 28, 1998
    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.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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If You Come Softly
If You Come Softly
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