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Behind You (If You Come Softly #2)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  663 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
This beautiful sequel to If You Come Softly explores the experiences of those left behind after tragedy. It is a novel in which through hope, understanding and love, healing begins.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 28th 2006 by Speak (first published May 24th 2004)
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May 09, 2010 Rob rated it liked it
A young, black man is shot and killed by the police, and his loss impacts numerous members of the community. Each character sort of comes across in a series of candid interviews, almost like a documentary.

This book brings up a lot of important issues, like racial injustice, forgiveness, and overcoming loss, but sort of fails to do them justice because of the way it is written. Woodson switches through narrators every few pages, and never really allows us to get to close to any particular charact
Mar 30, 2009 Josiah rated it liked it
"Feels like I've known him since before he got to the world-longer than he knew himself, truthfully. Seems like we'd been friends really...Somewhere before life on earth..."

--Desire Viola Roselind, "Behind You", P. 24

"Kids are something. All they can see is the beauty in a moment."

--Norman Roselind, "Behind You", P. 37

"If You Come Softly" is one of the greatest stories that it has ever been my immense privilege to read, so the bar was set almost unrealistically high for this companion novel
Jun 04, 2015 Kaci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I liked it better than the first one. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person in Miah's life - how their lives are going since his death and how they are dealing with the loss. Woodson is an amazing writer. I would compare her to Angela Johnson, only slightly more poetic. Maybe that's not fair, I haven't read a Johnson book in a while. I read Behind You over the course of two days and really tried to let her words sink in as I sat on the couch, s ...more
Apr 03, 2009 Raven rated it liked it
Behind You, written by Jacqueline Woodson is about a young boy who is shot and killed by the police, and his family’s struggle to recover from it. Throughout the story we see how Jeremiah, the deceased boy, and his death effects everyone in is life. His parents divorce, his girlfriend, Ellie, falls into a deep depression, and his basketball team suffers and soon begins to reminisce and forget that they’re playing without him, this causes them to begin losing.
This book is written from the point
Dec 09, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2012 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2016 Zhen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-2012
This is one of the books or stories that very different from what I've read so far because it's not divided by numbers of chapters but separated with people's names that relate to the protagonist. In every section I get to read from different perspectives of the character's sides of the story and how they felt when the main character, Miah, passed away. I got to understand the parents, girlfriends, and even friends side of their story and how they felt inside when they still couldn't accept that ...more
Becka dittmann
Oct 11, 2012 Becka dittmann rated it liked it
I thought the book was okay. At first I wasn't really interested with the book but as I got into it, it got a little better. Right off in the beginning a boy named Miah gets shot. The book is about his friends and family having entries about how they are getting over the shooting and how hard it is for all of them. His girlfriend Ellie was devastated but with the help of his friends and family she is trying to make the memories of Miah not be so hard to handle. She goes over to Miahs mother's ho ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Hillary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How can Ellie move after life how she knew it stopped? How can she go on if there is no more Miah? It is a tough fact to face, but everyone learns to move on in their own ways.

Jacqueline Woodson once again created a beautifully written novel. You can not help but to the feel the emotions of the characters as they go about their everyday lives and learn to overcome. It is a perfect companion to If You Come Softly also by Jacqueline Woodson.
May 30, 2016 Holly rated it liked it
i had a little bit of a hard time with this one. it changes very often with who is telling their part and that just threw me off. i didn't read the book that came before this one so i was a little lost on what was going on at first. it was a decent read but i would probably read the one before it first before reading this one.
Aisha al-Amine
Jan 06, 2017 Aisha al-Amine rated it it was amazing
Such a short book, but in those few pages I laughed, cried, and enjoyed the ride. I'm utterly impressed. I highly recommend you guys read this!
Oct 31, 2016 Paula rated it liked it
Kind of disappointing after the first book. Felt unnecessary.
GregNAddy Adams
Oct 20, 2016 GregNAddy Adams rated it liked it
My first introduction to Jacqueline Woodson. I think there are better places to start, especially since this is a companion book; however, after absorbing her wise, insightful voice, I was hooked!
Nicole Snider
Sep 12, 2016 Nicole Snider rated it really liked it
Nicole Snider
ENG 580
Response 2

"Behind You" by Jacqueline Woodson is a book about coping with loss. The book also allows the reader to hear from Jeremiah, the character that has died. Throughout the story you also hear from Jeremiah's mom, dad, girlfriend, friends, and his grandma. The reader is able to spy in on their lives and see how Jeremiah's death has affected each person differently. The book is a bit different than many other books that have death in them. This book does not lead up to
Magdalen Dale
Feb 08, 2010 Magdalen Dale rated it it was amazing
I've been on a Jacqueline Woodson marathon for the past couple months--ordering all her books through the libraries interloan. YA novels, they are the perfect length to spend a morning with or start before bed and then stay up late to read the whole way through. Last night I was up until two with Behind You. Fifteen year old Jeremiah is mistakenly shot by cops as he's running home from his girlfriend's house through central park. The chapters rotate narrators: Miah's girlfriend-Ellie, his best f ...more
Jul 02, 2016 Mizuki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, poc-authors
The most striking thing for me about this book is the simplicity of it. The book is hardly 100 pages, and each chapter is just a short snippet of one of the character's experiences.

The overarching theme of the book is death, and I find that the style of the book lends itself to generating that feeling of loss and absence. To me, the real impact of the book lies in the spaces; the spaces between the characters and and the rest of the world, between one another, between the half empty pages and t
Apr 15, 2013 Eden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Jeremiah and Ellie were in love. And then he was killed. Now Ellie and everyone else that was in his life is trying to move on from their loss. It's not easy for them or Jeremiah.

I read If You Come Softly in 2009. It was recommended to me by a friend and I really loved the book. It was just filled with emotion and it instantly became a favorite of mine. I decided to read this since it was the sequel.

The same characters are in it and they are trying to move on from losing Jeremiah. What I really
I read this a couple of weeks ago, and, honestly, I'm having a hard time remembering much from it, which may say something about the book. I do think that it was well written and quite sad, but because it is so short, it was hard to feel any lasting connection with the story and characters. I found out after reading it that it's actually a sequel to If You Come Softly, but everything I've read indicates that this book can stand alone. However, I think I would have liked to have read the other bo ...more
Jan 30, 2011 Dominic rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Books written for young adults come in all packages, but Jacqueline Woodson creates some of the very best packages, I think. It is subtle and quiet, detailed and reflective. It's language and structure is simple enough for struggling readers, but the depth of emotion and level of wisdom is worthy of our most esteemed literature.

Thinking about Woodson (and authors like her) leave me wondering, "Why do we teachers continue to force books like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Catcher in the Rye
Sep 14, 2016 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: reading-log
very deep.
Emily Townsley
Nov 03, 2009 Emily Townsley rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-420

Behind You is written from the perspective of six different people. Each chapter title is named for the person who narrates it. The book begins with the death of Jeremiah and the rest of the story is about the healing process that his friends and family pass through as they deal with the loss.

This book was just ok. It had a good message about healing, but was written in confusing fashion. I feel that I never really got to know the characters. I didn't necessaril
Kirstynn Grimes
Jan 14, 2011 Kirstynn Grimes rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was really great! It shows you that even though someone's body isn't still here, deosn't mean their soul isn't with you, following you, watching over you like a guardian angel. This book show's you how close friends and family have to cope with losing someone so dear to them. It shows you pain and happiness, and let's you know that no matter how long their body's been gone, their soul will always be there with you, loving you, making sure your okay. I think the rea ...more
Allison Punch
Dec 08, 2016 Allison Punch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I have never been happier than when someone in line at the National Book Festival informed me there was a sequel to If You Come Softly. This book deals with the aftermath of the ending of that novel. Jacqueline Woodson is absolutely phenomenal; the characters in If You Come Softly and Behind You are forever in my heart.
Linda Lipko
Jan 02, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Any words to describe this amazing author would be trite and corny. Suffice it to say, she is one worth reading. Few can deal with intense subjects and yet not succumb to over drama and embellishment.

While this is a companion to If You Come Softly, a book I haven't read, there was no difficulty following the story.

Well deserving of the Coretta Scott King award, in this small, but powerful book, Woodson tackles the topics of interracial relationships, grief, sorrow and a young black man killed in
Jul 14, 2014 Denisse rated it really liked it
:|. It's sad that Maia died. I get that. But I think life is just suppose to move on. Grief is nothing but a period of transition. Of course, I'm a hypocrite if I'll say that it never happened to me. Moving on is hard, but either way, we always have to let go. I think that the book is just an aftermath of what happened at the first. I think that this book made quite an impression to me than the first. I feel as if this book has touched me a little bit. However, the story itself isn't as imaginat ...more
May 09, 2016 Lola rated it it was amazing
Between If You Come Softly and Behind You, I'd have to say Behind You is a superior novel. Everything just rings true. The various narrations tie together well, and you experience the whirlwind of emotions from everyone in this story: Miah's mother, his best friend, Ellie, his teammates, and even Miah himself in heaven and as a ghost. Most of all, it felt realistic to the nature of grief and dying. I also appreciated the exploration of a white cop shooting a black kid without good reason, somet ...more
Nov 20, 2007 Seana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: romance, excitement, and comedy lovers
This book was really good! It made me cry, an laugh. I think that guys or girls good read this book, but girls may like it a little more because girls tend to be into romance novels more than guys are. In this story a kid named Jeramiah, or miah for short. Was shot because he was black, just like someone who had just committed a crime, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone misses him, his girlfriend Ellie, who was white, his best friend Carlton. Kennedy, his parents, etc. ...more
Dec 26, 2007 Patrick rated it really liked it
Shelves: novelist-reviews
Spoiler: this is the sequel to Woodson's tragic tale of inter-racial romance If You Come Softly. That book ends with the main character, Jeremiah, shot dead by New York City police, in a case of mistaken identity. Jeremiah is back here telling the story from the great beyond, similar to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and After Life by Gary Soto. Yet Jeremiah's is not the only voice, as his friends and relatives also reveal their sorrow. The book isn't plot heavy, instead focusing on the strugg ...more
 Imani ♥ ☮
And I thought the first book was bad...

This book was just all over the place. Ellie is devastated over the murder of her boyfriend, Jeremiah.

Jeremiah is black.

Ellie is white.

No big deal, right? Wrong. Of course. Boo. And since Jeremiah is black(and the black people in books and films always die first) Jeremiah is shot by mistake while in Ellie's neighborhood.


I was very upset. And so now this is the sequel to this happy book. Ellie is depressed and blah blah. I don't even know what she was
Oct 21, 2009 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with my Lunch Time book Club at the high school where I am a librarian. It was their pick out of 5 options I gave them and I have to say it wasn't what I expected. It is written from the perspective of several characters all dealing with the loss of a teenager named Miah, who was shot to death by two policemen in a case of mistaken identity. His perspective is also captured in the book as he is watching the people that he loved deal with the loss. It was a very emotional portray ...more
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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)
  • If You Come Softly

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“I feel like the world stopped. And I got off...and then it started spinning again, but too fast for me to hop back on. I feel like I'm still trying to get get some kind of foothold on living” 11 likes
“Kids are something. All they can see is the beauty in a moment.” 5 likes
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