Review of “If You Come Softly” by Jacqueline Woodson

This beautiful book for young adults is about star-crossed first love between a black boy, fifteen-year-old Jeremiah (“Miah”), and a white girl of the same age, Ellie, who meet at Percy Prep School in New York City. In spite of coming from relatively privileged backgrounds, both kids are basically lonely until they find each other.


As their relationship blossoms, they put up with a steady stream of stares and obscene remarks. They talk about it, and decide they will treat it like rain:

Miah: Let’s say it’s rain – the people who got problems with us being together – let’s call them and their problems rain.

Ellie nodded. “Okay, they’re rain.” She smiled. “So now what?”

Miah: “So it’s not always raining, is it? But when it’s not raining, we know the rain isn’t gone forever.”

Ellie sighed. “Well a drought would be a beautiful thing.”

But in the story, it just rains harder, until one day, the downpour doesn’t stop.

Evaluation: Get the Kleenex ready and read this book. Issues of black and white, of divorce and infidelity, even of gay and straight, are touched upon in this book, with sensitivity, realism, and love. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 1998

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13 Responses to Review of “If You Come Softly” by Jacqueline Woodson

  1. Julie P. says:

    It sounds like a touching story. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I like the sounds of this story, even if it is a big kleenex book. The little bit of conversation is excellent – shows a mature attitude toward the poor behavior in others. Rare in adults.

  3. susan says:

    So have you forgiven me for not warning you? 🙂

    Thanks for the review. I hope more readers will check this out.

  4. This is so touching. I would definitely check it out.

  5. Staci says:

    I have this on my middle school shelves so as soon as school starts back up I’ll be tracking this one down!!!

  6. I loved it, too! 🙂

  7. bermudaonion says:

    Sounds wonderful – thanks for the warning about the tissues. I’m a big crybaby, so I’m sure I’ll need them.

  8. S. Krishna says:

    I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for the review!

  9. Nymeth says:

    I want this book so badly! I read my first Woodson (Miracle’s Boys) last week and I loved it.

  10. sherisse says:


  11. morgan says:

    This book was very intriguing and I could absolutely not put it down. It really suprised me with the end. It was such a twister the author threw in there but the points the author was trying to execute really got me to think. The message of this book had a really great mood and feel to it. Overall it was an excellent book.

  12. Pingback: Review: If You Come Softly, Jacqueline Woodson « Jenny's Books

  13. Tiyashia says:

    I loved this book. i read so many books that sometime i forget which ones i’ve read. But i will never forget
    this book or the title. It was so beautiful.

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