Title: If You Come Softly
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
ISBN/Publisher: 0-14-240601-5/Speak (part of Penguin)
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult
Ellie and Jeremiah are both fifteen, are having a difficult time with their families, and are both at a new prep school in New York. Ellie is white, the youngest in her family, and lives with her parents. She has a strained relationship with her mother since her mom has left the family twice, but still returned back to them. Jeremiah is black, an only child of a famous movie director and author. Except, his parents are now divorced and Dad lives across the street with his new girlfriend.
By chance, Ellie and Jeremiah meet at the high school by bumping into each other in the hallway and it is love at first sight. They truly care for each other, but the world around them is having a hard time accepting their relationship. Ellie finds it even more astonishing that her favorite sister isn't fully supportive of the whole relationship.
How will their relationship survive in a society that is not welcoming to interracial relationships?
From the first few pages, you automatically get the feel for heartache to come. And even with this feeling, the story still makes your heart ache and the ending really took me by surprise. However, Ellie and Jeremiah really do care for each other and their first love is so sweet to read about. At the same time, this powerful novel really gets the readers thinking about how race still plays a card in society.
The novel is a short one and very easy to read. I actually finished it in a couple of hours. I couldn't put the book down because the main characters have this great relationship and they feel so real. It's not just Ellie's and Jeremiah's relationship together that made me want to read. But their relationships with their parents. The strain between Ellie and her mom really drove me through the book. It is interesting to read about the strained relationships that parents and children have. Its a truth that lies out there in the world and it was nice to read how these relationships affect others.
This book is a definite recommendation to you all, especially high school students. I can't wait to read more of Ms. Woodson's books.
If you come as softly/as the wind within the trees /You may hear what I hear/See what sorrow sees.
Change is a good thing [...] Think of it like seasons. You don't want to stay one way all your life and ahve moss grow under your toes. page 65