Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If You Come Softly” as Want to Read:
If You Come Softly
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If You Come Softly (If You Come Softly #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  3,647 Ratings  ·  544 Reviews
Both Elisha (Ellie) and Jeremiah (Miah) attend Percy Academy, a private school where neither quite fits in. Ellie is wrestling with family demons, and Miah is one of the few African American students. The two of them find each other, and fall in love -- but they are hesitant to share their newfound happiness with their friends and families, who will not understand. At the ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published June 22nd 2006 by Speak (first published September 28th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about If You Come Softly, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Barbaraleah Read the beginning of the book and you'll see that the book begins with an allusion to the ending. To be honest, Maria, I'd have preferred if the…moreRead the beginning of the book and you'll see that the book begins with an allusion to the ending. To be honest, Maria, I'd have preferred if the author didn't do that.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 22, 2008 Greta rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: perfect for middle/lower high school (girls probably; might appeal to boys)
Recommended to Greta by: sophia sarigianides
Shelves: young-adult
if you come softly
as the wind within the tress
you may hear what i hear
see what sorrow sees...

and if you come i will be silent
nor speak harsh words to you
i will not ask you why, now.
or how, or what you do.

we shall sit here softly
beneath two different years
and the rich earth between us
shall drink our tears.

bi-racial city romance.
lyrical, simple, sweet, and as such, heartbreaking.

I met Jacqueline Woodson at the 2015 LA Times Festival of Books (I ushered her author speaking engagement) and was so impressed by her that I had to purchase some of her books, this being one of them. She autographed this with the perfect inscription: "To Diane With Love". Not only did that show her genuineness, but that is also exactly what this book is all about.

Ellie, white, Jewish; meets Jerimiah, ("Miah"), black, in high school, both 15 years old, by literally running into each other. Their
Apr 06, 2013 Keri rated it really liked it
This story has been done before: a forbidden romance between two young people. Society won't accept their love and only a tragedy can bring everyone together. Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. It is a plot that has become cliche, but there is something special about If You Come Softly.

The book is about Elisha, a white Jewish girl, and Miah, an African-American boy, both living in New York City. For them, it is love at first sight. They click instantly and share everything with eachother, eve
Dec 01, 2016 Travis rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
Ellie and Jeremiah fall in love at first sight. The fact that he's black and she's white doesn't matter to them, but it's all everyone else can see.[return][return]This had some good stuff going on. I particularly liked the chapters in Jeremiah's POV and his observations about the world...that's pretty much all that saved it from being a run-of-the-mill teen issue book. As it is, it didn't save it enough for me. [return][return]There's a lot of stuff labelled YA that I read and wonder why it was ...more
Jul 20, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quiet, beautifully etched portrait of a first love that is shattered by the racism, If You Come Softly traces the relationship of two teens whose lives intertwine for a short but life-changing time. Ellie is Jewish and white. Jeremiah is black. Both are from well-to-do families where it's sometimes hard to be yourself, and both are new students at Percy Academy. It was Jeremiah's father, a well-known African American filmmaker, who wanted Jeremiah to attend a private school. Jeremiah doesn't l ...more
Ang Buxton
Jun 09, 2015 Ang Buxton rated it it was amazing
What a thrilling love story. The images come easily, the characters come softly. I felt like I got to know Ellie and Jeremiah as individuals, separate at first, and was well on my way to knowing more about them together. One thing that confused me about this book was that there were two parts. I didn't understand the reason behind bothering with 'parts' at all. The chapters in this book, the vivid seasonal imagery and scents, and the basketball season's progression all worked seamlessly togethe ...more
Jul 18, 2010 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by Justine Larbalestier who wrote "Liar" in her recommendations for books "like" Liar. Um, I don't know what planet anyone who saw any similarities between these two books is from, beyond both being set in NYC. Seriously, that's all I can come up with, other than the race of one of the characters.

If You Come Softly is the most trite, simplistic love story about the love between a Jewish girl and a black boy - that perfect star crossed love that they both feel the moment
Amanda Touchton
Nov 24, 2009 Amanda Touchton rated it liked it
This book was listed as a LGBTQ novel, but the book didn't really deal with any LGBTQ issues. The story is about a relationship between an interracial couple, Ellie and Jeramiah, at a wealthy private school; about how their relationship progresses, and how they deal with the outside world's response to their love.
I thought the book painted a beautiful picture of two people who had a deep connection. From the moment they first see each other, Ellie and Miah are atracted to one another. The more t
Mar 10, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
"If You Come Softly" is a story of unrequited love between Jeremiah, a fifteen-year-old African American and Ellie, who is Jewish. Both are transferring from other areas. Jeremiah, a basketball player, has just begun going to a preparatory school (Percy Academy) in New York. He and the other few African American boys are not widely accepted because of the color of their skin, and Jeremiah unexpectedly meets Ellie. They become inseparable from that day forth but are reluctant to tell their parent ...more
Dec 03, 2010 Lydia rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-read
I've been reading Woodson's books and truly do not understand how she has accumulated so many awards. Yes, her books deal with race and cultural differences. But I find most of them extremely short, to the point of not exploring the subjects in depth. I also find her endings very distressing. If you are black, you seem to have a tragic ending where there is no real indication about a future for the other characters.

In this book, which in fact does have a sequel, there is an interracial couple. T
Kendall M
Dec 17, 2009 Kendall M rated it it was amazing
i LOVED this book! This book had emotions everywhere. The feelings Miah and Elle had for each other told the story of true love. Miah was Black, Elle was white, that didn't stop them from loving one another. The detail in this book was Phenomonal! The best detail it had was one Miah was running through the park with his basketball, he was thinking of Elle, basketball, his family, school, the snow twirled all around him, and then the moment he gets shot you hold your breath. I never wanted to put ...more
May 18, 2015 Anya rated it it was amazing
AMAZING. Jacqueline Woodson is an EXTREMELY talented author who chooses the perfect words to string together. And not only is it beautifully written, but she actually incorporates all sorts of social issues going on now into it (recent shootings in N.Y. and such), and a beautiful romance. This book shows the true strength of love, and how it has no boundaries, as well as the power of judgement. Even with out much plot, Woodson still makes it interesting. A must read!
Feb 27, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Even though I've read this novel several times before, it has been years. I knew what was coming but still I felt all the feels. Her writing is just too beautiful and too real not to feel something. A must read for adults!!
Lynn Edler
Nov 16, 2014 Lynn Edler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, tears
Jacqueline Woodson's books are so thoughtful and insightful. This book is no different; the ending left me gasping and in tears. Recommend for both adults and kids, middle school and older.
Mar 15, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Heidi by: 50books_poc (sort of)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2015 Ren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about Jacqueline Woodson last year. One of the great things about following a ton of YA authors on Twitter is that when one of them gets an award, everyone goes crazy. In 2014, Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award for her most recent novel, Brown Girl Dreaming. I was eager to read the book that everyone has been talking about, but I'm trying not to buy too many books until my income gets a little more stable (something I'm still failing epically at, since I've bought nine ...more
Sep 25, 2016 Miz rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, young-adult
Simple, but the writing was TOO simple for a complicated plot. Not engaging at all sadly.
Aug 29, 2016 Averyb rated it it was amazing
If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson is a fictional romance. Jeremiah and Ellie meet at Percy, a prep school in New York City where they are both attending for their first year. When they bump into each other in the hallway, they find themselves wondering more about one another. They fall in love having to face the fact that Jeremiah is black and Ellie is white. They are an interracial couple but they don’t let other people’s comments get in their way of being together. Ellie does not have a ...more
Apr 11, 2013 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ls-583
Jamie Poorman

APA Citation: Woodson, J. (1998). If you come softly. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Genre: Multicultural

Format: Print (hardcover, 181 pages)

Selection Process: School Library Journal review,

Elisha (Ellie) and Jeremiah (Miah) couldn’t appear more different from one another - she an upper-middle class white Jewish girl and he a tall, thin, curly haired African American boy - but they are more alike that anyone knows. Both fifteen year old sophomores in their first semester at Perc
Caroline Saltzman
Mar 22, 2011 Caroline Saltzman rated it it was amazing
I REALLY liked this book. I started reading it yesterday, and I finished today. It was so clear and understanding. It shows me a lot of how people think and how it feels to be the victim of a stereotype. Ellie and Jerimiah are sophmores in a private school called Percy. Jerimiah is black, and Ellie is white, but that doesn't seem to matter. Since they both first saw each other they knew that they were meant to be together. Througout the story there are people who judge their reliatonship, like t ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I picked up this book because my library didn't have a copy of Woodson's newer work "Brown Girl Dreaming" and I am incredibly glad that I did. It's a book filled with emotional richness and realism in the way teenagers love and process.

In full disclosure this book moved me to tears at least twice. The first was about mid-way through the book and the second was full on snot-running-from-nose-can't-catch-breath crying at the end. Woodson uses emotions and characters thoughts like paint to craft t
Andrew Anthony
Mar 25, 2014 Andrew Anthony rated it liked it
If You Come Softly is a love story. Jeremiah and Ellie are both new transfer students at Percy Academy. Jeremiah is an African American basketball player from Brooklyn. His father is a famous movie director and author. His parents are divorced. Ellie is the daughter of a white, Jewish doctor. She lives with her parents in a wealthy neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her mother has abandoned her twice in the past so Ellie still feels anger and mistrust toward her mother. Jeremiah a ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Aviann rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-420

If You Come Softly depicts a love story between black Jeremiah and white Ellie in Manhattan, NY. Even though the book takes place in the 1990s, Jeremiah and Ellie experience racial tendencies against their relationship. Family and friends alike disdain of the match, but Jeremiah and Ellie love each other enough to ignore other people's comments. Also during the novel, Ellie struggles with her relationship with her mother, and Jeremiah has a rough time with his father relationsh
May 27, 2016 lin rated it it was amazing
Not a perfect book by any means, but definitely one that gets you thinking and moves you. My heart clenched and stomach dropped at respective parts.

My favorite parts:

“I’ll meet you out front,” I said, kissing my finger and touching it to his face.
He grabbed my hand and kissed it. “Four-thirty—Ellie Eisen heads to Brooklyn.”

Just, SWOOOON. This kind of stuff makes me want to fall in love!

“The train was loud and crowded. Miah had to lean into me to speak. He smiled and touched my cheek.”

Ebba Jonsson
Apr 07, 2015 Ebba Jonsson rated it it was amazing
If You Come Softly is an amazing romantic and tragic novel in which Jacqueline Woodson shows the reader a new perspective to the silent racism still existing in the modern society. By making this novel about a young teenage couple, determined to fight against the society’s norms, the reader gets vulnerable and can easier take in Jacqueline’s opinion and view on the segregated society we live in today. Jacqueline uses an interesting technique by switching Elisha and Jeremiah as the story teller. ...more
Jun 25, 2011 Lisa rated it did not like it
Shelves: y-a, disappointing
I didn't find this to be well written and the whole plot was too bland for me. The love story was pretty lame and the characters were 'eh'.
This would probably be more well-suited to someone much younger. I think 12 and under. I expect a certain standard of writing and this was too dumbed-down for me. It took me no time to read because it was short, had HUGE font and was such simple writing.
I read it for a challenge(I had to read a YA book with a minority as one of the main characters). This was
Ravenne Cooper
Aug 27, 2016 Ravenne Cooper rated it liked it
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this book. But to be forthright, the book was very difficult to keep focus on. I was bored with the book and felt like some scenes would be stretched and then others were rushed. But I did love the use of words used by Jacqueline Woodson.
It is about a two teenagers of different races. Jeremiah is black while Elisa is Jewish. They meet each other in their new high school and become infatuated with each other. They fall in love but see how people look at
Jan 04, 2013 Mei rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens, 2012
The first time I get a hold of this book I opened it and looked how many pages it has (This has been a ritual every time a buy or borrow a book HAHA). First thing that came to my mind that this is just a light read and I can finish this within an hour or so but I also saw that the fonts are so big and there are big spaces which made me think that this story is too short, and I kept wondering how would it end, and how would it flow in just 180+ pages? It made me interested too because it has topi ...more
Jul 03, 2009 Rhollers rated it really liked it
If you come softly
Jacqueline Woodson

Woodson writes a compelling story of young love, not the - I think you’re cute – love but the soul mate at first sight love. High school students at a prestigious New York private school, Ellie and Miah find each other and the problems associated with interracial couples. Miah comes from a high profile black family and Ellie’s parents are an upper class Jewish family. Both experience family issues that leave them lonely and distrustful of others until they
The book If you Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson is about a young boy, Jeremiah, and a young girl, Ellie, who live in different worlds. Ellie is white and Jeremiah is black. They go to a prep school in New York City. On their first day they run into each other and have an instant connection. They soon find themselves in a deep relationship with each other. The only problem is that people have not accepted the fact that they are different races.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The book itself was i
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: Jewish girl and African American boy romance [s] 5 21 Feb 07, 2015 07:58AM  
  • What They Found: Love on 145th Street
  • The Legend of Buddy Bush
  • The Color of Home
  • Shin-chi's Canoe
  • Emako Blue
  • Jason & Kyra
  • Rosie and Skate
  • The First Part Last (Heaven, #2)
  • The Long Night of Leo and Bree
  • If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks
  • Bang!
  • The Battle of Jericho (Jericho, #1)
  • Ironman
  • Moses Goes to School
  • Rain Is Not My Indian Name
  • No Laughter Here
  • Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad
  • Bronx Masquerade
I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories a
More about Jacqueline Woodson...

Other Books in the Series

If You Come Softly (2 books)
  • Behind You

Share This Book

“Time comes to us softly, slowly. It sits beside us for a while. Then, long before we are ready, it moves on.” 54 likes
“I think only once in your life do you find someone that you say, "Hey, this is the person I want to spend the rest of my time on this earth with." And if you miss it, or walk away from it, or even maybe, blink - it's gone.” 20 likes
More quotes…