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Come a Stranger (Tillerman Cycle, #5)
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Come a Stranger (Tillerman Cycle #5)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,521 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Although devastated when she is asked to leave an exclusive Connecticut ballet school, Mina Smiths finds solace in her friendship with Tamer Shipp, the summer minister, and learns about his own difficult adolescence, Harlem ministry, and family life.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by Simon Pulse (first published 1986)
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Feb 16, 2015 Cherie rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
This was a wonderful story, beautifully written and seamlessly tied into the other books that Cynthia Voight has written in this series. It is hard to see where it is going at first, but such a wonderful character study of an exceptional young woman and her family. Told from yet another perspective as only Cynthia Voight can do, filled with people the other stories have introduced.
This is a warm, contemplative, and moving novel. Like most of the other books in the "Tillerman series" (which starts with the excellent Homecoming, this book could stand on its own easily, but gains even more depth and emotional resonance when one has read the previous novels in the cycle.

This book centers on Mina Smiths, who readers of Dicey's Song will remember as the young black woman who decides she's going to be Dicey's friend, come hell or high water. It fleshes out Mina's family and give
Mar 25, 2013 Gabby rated it did not like it
The main charachter Mina is a young girl that realizes that racisim is brought up against her due to the color of her skin. Shes so passionate with dancing and is extremley exited when she got into a dance camp with a scolarship. Her bestfriend unfortunately did not did not get in becuse her parents could not afford it. Mina goes to the camp and writes back to her family and friend. She tries her best at dancing and is told repeatedly to try harder. Midway through the book i understood that Min ...more
Katie M.
May 27, 2012 Katie M. rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, reread, 2012
Books by white authors about characters of color - particularly African Americans - are... well, it's complicated. But it was the 90s, and I loved this book, and Cynthia Voigt is a fantastic writer, so I guess at least there's that. She phones it in a little bit when going through the scenes (from Mina's perspective) that are included in other books, but that doesn't end up being a fatal flaw. All the Tillerman novels are pretty excellent really; I used to love (um. Clearly still do.) going back ...more
Melusine Parry
I hate ballet stories but this one isn't about dancing around in silly tutus, it's about body changes, adolescence and race. Beautiful.
Jillian Finelli
Oct 19, 2014 Jillian Finelli rated it it was amazing
The book Come a Stranger, by Cynthia Vogit is a inspiring book about growing up. The main character Mina Smiths, loves ballet and is very good at it. Her dream is to become a professional ballet dancer, a big problem though, is that she's black. Mina goes to a ballet camp for the summer and is the only black girl there. When she returns home, her friends say she has changed. She goes back to camp the next summer and the ballet teacher gives some bad news, Mina is told that she has to leave the c ...more
May 04, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
Cynthia Voigt brings something so special to children’s literature. She does not try to come up with some catchy little idea that will appeal to children, but rather takes us inside what it feels like to be a child. I love books that make me relate, and so it is not wonder that they original Dicey books were my favorites as a child. I feel every bit of Dicey’s pain and struggle, and I have never forgotten her. I first read her almost 30 years ago, but I can conjure up her home, her boat, her sib ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
With each volume I read in the Tillerman books, it becomes less clear which is my favorite. I think I will always have a soft spot for A Solitary Blue; it was my favorite for so long, and Jeff's relationship with his dad is one of my favorite parent-child relationships in young adult literature. But then I decided to finish out the series as an adult, and well: The Runner somehow made a pretty despicable person completely sympathetic and likeable, and now Come a Stranger has turned Mina (a bit p ...more
Oct 12, 2009 Colin rated it really liked it
Aaaah! These books are sooo good! I love how each book adds more layers to the story and the family. I teared up at the end of this one. I just know when I get to the end of these, I'm going to wish there were more. I love it when I wish that characters I read about in books were real.
Mae Walker
I liked this just as much if not more than Dicey's Song. Cynthia Voight's books just feel so real, the pace and characters are perfect.
Her books are also quite deep, touching on so many things in life, you meet a lot of characters and sometimes the plot feels unrelated. But does real life have a "plot"? No, odd things happen and you just "shake it off" and learn from them.
I feel that some of the other books, the ones I do not enjoy as much, that' s because I don't "get" them yet, that one day
Sep 26, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books by Cynthia Voigt, along with Izzy Willy Nilly. Mina was my favorite character and I loved how the Tillerman family intertwined with her coming of age story.
Sep 23, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it
I think this may be my next favorite, after Dicey's Song, of the Tillerman series.
Feb 28, 2016 Lucy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
Oct 25, 2015 Vannessagrace Vannessagrace rated it really liked it
Shelves: cynthia-voigt
Mina learned about racism through experience. The experience wasn’t all bad because it helped her to see life as it really existed and through that experience, Mina was able to see people for whom and what they were, especially the adults. And at the same time, she learned a lot about herself; she became self-aware. Come a Stranger was well written and left nothing to the imagination.

I’d never heard of author Cynthia Voigt before Come A Stranger and am looking forward to reading more of her book
Apr 18, 2009 Josiah rated it liked it
How Cynthia Voigt continues to write so profoundly about the Tillermans I do not know, but she kept up the level of quality very nicely in this book.
Through the first hundred pages or so, I actually thought that Come a Stranger had a real shot at being my favorite book in the entire Tillerman cycle. This was not the case ultimately, but the story stuck with me well, and the vivid phrases used by the author to depict the feeling that the quietly indifferent racism of the other dance students ga
I am so glad I picked it up again after deciding to let it go around page 60 (Somehow the beginning of Mina Smiths' story about a twelve-years-old, black girl during the 70s, who is desperately trying to start a ballet dancer's career in an all-white summer camp, breezed past all my emotional buttons without even brushing them lightly). And I am pretty dazed about the fact that it kept me up reading last night until my eyes protested. It's not as wonderful as Homecoming or Dicey's Song, but it's ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Brenda added it
This book touched me in a way, I felt really bad for the main character, Mina Smith. She was a dancer, she loved it so much and always practiced at the dance class she showed up to all the time. She worked very hard and even got a scholarship into an amazing dance camp. Mina was the only black girl in the camp and she felt like she didn't fit in, like she didn't belong. Her dance camp instructor told her the second time she came there that she failed and she doesn't have what it takes become a g ...more
Reyna Ruiz
Mar 08, 2013 Reyna Ruiz rated it really liked it
Mina Smith is a young African American girl that realizes that racism is brought up against her due to the color of her skin. She loves dancing and is extremely excited when she got into a ballet camp with a scholarship. Her best friend unfortunately didn’t get in it because her parents could not afford it. Mina goes to the camp and writes back to her family and best friend. She always tries to do her best at dancing and is told plenty of times to try harder. I noticed throughout the book that ...more
Jul 27, 2012 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody.
Recommended to Tori by: Myself. :)
Shelves: 5-star-books
Come a Stranger is the fifth book in Cynthia Voigt's acclaimed Tillerman cycle. However, in this book, much like in A Solitary Blue, we take a break from the Tillermans to focus on Dicey's African-American friend, Wilhemina Smiths. Presumably set in the '80's, Mina struggles with the lingering prejudices against black people, and is hurt and disappointed when she tries to reach out to people, regardless of color, and they choose not to reach back.

I had heard mixed reviews about this fifth book i
Apr 09, 2016 Marna added it
I already felt invested in Mina's character from reading about her in Dicey's Song simply because she seems so outwardly secure that you find yourself wondering what her story the same way I always wondered what Jeff's deal was. This definitely lived up to my expectations and I always thought having her be a former dancer was such an incongruous match for what you learn about her later on that I was immediately intrigued. The book deals with a lot of issues
joyce lynn
Jul 23, 2007 joyce lynn rated it liked it
oh my ... the location takes place in Maryland, for the most part. yet still ... could be here in Mississippi.

the time period is many years ago also, but ... could still be NOW here in Mississippi.

we've supposedly come SO far w/ our "progress", yet ... in SO many areas and arenas of life, i think we've barely moved at all.

and unfortunately, i also think that all of "progress" has NOT been a "good thang", but in fact, we are much worse a society now than ever before. we know so much more now, ye
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Aug 10, 2014 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-14
This fifth book in the Tillerman Cycle was a little hard to get into. The main character wasn't as interesting as previous ones have been--her challenges seemed trivial; her worries manufactured; her personality undeveloped. I shouldn't have worried--she grew into still another of the marvelously complex Cynthia Voigt creations that I've learned to expect.

It's amazing that the five books in the series have all been interconnected despite the difference in time and perspective. She must have plan
Feb 09, 2016 Gerry rated it really liked it
Come a Stranger focuses on Mina before she meets Dicey.
The ballet camp and the year that follows had me not liking the book but I stuck with it. And I liked the rest a lot more.
There are lots of black and white issues. I enjoy reading from the black perspective, even the uncomfortable parts.
May 16, 2010 Megan rated it liked it
So far, this one's probably the weakest in the Tillerman cycle. Somewhat interesting, but not nearly the caliber of the previous books. You do get a glimpse of a forward march in time at the end, as Mina's past catches up to the present (similar to A Solitary Blue), but I found it hard to identify with Mina's crush on a married man much older than her. Also, knowing her motivations for seeking Dicey out made her less interesting to me somehow. I would have preferred it if she had been mature eno ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mina loves to dance and is excited when she is accepted to a special dance camp. Little does she realize the exacting long-term consequences of pursuing her passion. She is even less prepared when she realizes what passion really is.

This book was very difficult for me to read. I experienced very similar circumstances to Mina's -- of realizing what racism, tokenism, and having your dreams crash into reality feels like. I cried through much of this and admire Voigt for her willingness to explore s
Dec 18, 2008 Alice rated it liked it
Another in the Tillerman cycle, this time focusing on the lively black girl Mina. Sorry, Ms. Voigt, this time your story did not work quite as well as a stand-alone. Some of the key scenes (such as the scene where Mina faces down the unfriendly teacher who was humiliating Dicey) should have been included, with all dialog, in their entire form. Otherwise they make no sense.

The very best part was the start: little Mina's two very different summers at dance camp. During the second summer, she reali
May 26, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing
I love the Tillerman books and this was a new one to me. I found it somewhere for free and I'm glad I own it. It's told from the perspective of Dicey's African American friend, Mina. It's a fascinating look at a biracial friendship back when that didn't really happen. I have thought a lot about some of the themes in this book since I read it - particularly about what it means/meant to be black on the Eastern Shore, both now and 30-40 years ago. And yes, it's set on the Eastern Shore (Bay side) a ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young_adult
I felt like the beginning of this book was very strong- I liked Mina a lot in Dicey's Song, and I was glad to see thing from her perspective. Voigt did excellent work in portraying Mina's awakening during her second summer at ballet camp, and how much the racism she was dealing with hurt her.

But the second half of the book didn't fit quite as well- Voigt glossed over some of the events that had previously come up in earlier books in a way that didn't help the narrative. The ending also sort of p
Dec 07, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-kid-lit, fiction
Liked Mina even better than Dicey. Another great story about a smart girl who learns to understand and cope with her outsider-ness.
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tillerman Cycle (7 books)
  • Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1)
  • Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2)
  • A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle, #3)
  • The Runner (Tillerman Cycle, #4)
  • Sons from Afar (Tillerman Cycle, #6)
  • Seventeen Against the Dealer (Tillerman Cycle, #7)

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“Mina wanted some of the kind of love Momma gave to her children, where love was the first and deepest thing, and the questions came later and the answers wouldn't matter much measured up against the love.” 6 likes
“Even after everyone had gone home, the house was filled with the good time they’d had, as if it could linger in the air like the voices and music lingered in memory. Mina wrapped the memory up and put it in her heart; there was a quiet gladness, deep like a tree and tall in her” 3 likes
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