Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review: If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Jeremiah is confident about who he is -- that is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But when he starts attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, he realizes that black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when, during his first week of school, he feels an immediate connection with a white girl named Ellie. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they belong together -- despite the fact that 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 feels differently.

There are three words that describe this novel perfectly: Epic Romance Win. This novel is so heartfelt and lovely, you'll feel like it's someone you know. The characters are deep, which is surprising in such a quick (181 pg) read. While this is mainly a love story, both Ellie and Miah are people in their own rights, with different issues at home. I really loved both of these characters.

Miah is a very likeable character. The way he feels about being black and what it means to him is depicted in a real way. It's interesting to hear his voice and understand how he sees the world. I also loved Miah's relationship with his mother. It was charming and authentic, showing a real connection between the two characters.

Ellie is also a very likeable character. She seems to understand what a heavy subject race is in her relationship with Miah, and she notices how people react to the two of them. Her broken relationship with her mother is depicted in a way that makes you empathize with her, and it's great to be able to crawl inside of her head.

I admired both of these characters for their bravery. They were fairly well-developed, though there was a little mystery left in them at the end of the novel. This novel's writing was gorgeous and flowed nicely.

The only thing I disliked about the novel was the switch from the first-person point of view of Ellie, to the third-person point of view of Miah, chapter after chapter. I would've preferred that the entire novel be in first-person. The switches really threw me off and interrupted the flow of the novel as a whole. Other than that, the book was glorious.

If you're looking for a sad, interesting love story (I always am!) head over to Amazon (less than a dollar!) or you're local bookstore and grab a copy. It is humanly impossible not to love this novel. Seriously.

Plot: 8/10
Readability: 9/10
Character Development: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Writing 9/10

Tashi <3

P.S. If you didn't know yet, some big time YA authors have gotten together to change the world. And of course they're giving away FREE BOOKS! Get over there to enter and Live Your Five.


Rachel said...

Aww thanks! Someone does appreciate me. :) What is your twitter name? I've heard this really good but I remember a different cover for it.

Color Online said...


Great review! I really love what you and Kiki do here. Very eclectic. Always something different.

Jacqueline said...

Okay -- I just typed this whole explanation and don't know where the frick-frack it went to! Argghhhhh. I agree about the switching POV thing but the reason behind it is Jeremiah CAN'T tell his story so someone else is telling it for him -- hence, third person. I went back and forth about it and then didn't fight it anymore. Thanks for the FAB review. I'm glad this book is still traveling through the universe. It holds a special place in my heart. --Jacqueline Woodson

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