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)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  9,601 ratings  ·  1,612 reviews
A heartbreaking contemporary romance from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 7th 2010 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 auth…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
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,601 ratings  ·  1,612 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of If You Come Softly
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
That ending was so ABRUPT & HEARTBREAKING.
I don't really want to review this beyond saying this is a timeless and powerful story.

Also, Black Lives Matter.

April (Aprilius Maximus)
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
*4.5 stars*
brb crying because of this book
monica kim
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-loved
This was a re-read of the new audiobook. I originally read this over a decade ago and honestly didn’t remember a lot plot-wise other than it destroyed my pre-teen heart and also that it made me think of race in a way that I hadn’t before. Now, as an adult, it still totally destroyed me and left me a puddle of tears. For a story written 20 years ago, the racism faced by Jeremiah is still all too real and common today.
Anne Bogel
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe this almost-classic by Jacqueline Woodson is twenty years old: the themes in this love story between two star-crossed teenagers, inspired by Romeo and Juliet and an Audre Lord poem, are as fresh as ever.

Jeremiah is comfortable in his Brooklyn neighborhood. But as a Black teen attending a new Manhattan prep school, he feels less comfortable. When he meets Ellie, a white Jewish girl from a different world, they know they fit together, but everyone around them is skeptical, or
Kristina Horner
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
For the longest time, I was thinking "this is such a sweet book, but what's the plot?"

And then I got to the end. Oh.. oh no.

This was a book that ripped my heart out, and I can't believe it was written 20 years ago. It's still so, so relevant today. It's hard to say I "love" a book that's so devastating and sad, but it was really powerful and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Erica Brown
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-comp
I’m so underwhelmed and disappointed :(. I honestly don’t really know what to say.

If You Come Softly is about Ellie, a white Jewish teen, who falls in love with Jeremiah, who is black. Unfortunately, there are a lot of consequences for the two of them together as a couple.

It sounds like a pretty decent premise? Sort of a Romeo and Juliet vibe to it (which I hate that play with a burning passion). But I had high hopes for this book, but there were just so many issues that made it unenjoyable fo
Shawna (SugoiShawn/SugoiReads)
This book destroyed me. It was one of the most powerful and important books that I have ever read, but it is also one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read. For such a short book, this one really packed a punch.

I'm not going to lie, the book is a bit slow and I wasn't fond of how quickly the romance in the story moved, but I do feel that this is a really good book. I almost feel like this book should be studied in school instead of Romeo and Juliet if I'm being quite honest. I've also b
At long last, I'm writing the reviews for books that I've read within the past several months! This one was, admittedly, quite hard to gather my feelings on. While the message of the story is important - and timely now, more than ever - the emotional impact just wasn't there for me. I find this to be a pretty consistent struggle with Jacqueline Woodson's work, because while her writing is undoubtedly beautiful and relevant, there's just something I don't connect with. Maybe it's the length of th ...more
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

*wipes away tears* IT'S FINE. I'M FINE. This book destroyed all of my one feeling. It was so soft and full of love all throughout and then the ending destroyed!! The writing is amazing, the characters got a strong grip on my heart and the family dynamics were brilliant.
This book was written 20 years ago but it's still so relevant to today's society!
Lauren Fanella
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jacqueline Woodson never fails to amaze me. This book was only 180 pages and I felt so attached to the two main characters. She’s able to evoke such emotion. So elegant and so heartbreaking. This book left me in tears.
Melissa ~ Missy (FrayedBooks)
It's crazy how a book published in 1998 is still relevant in 2018, 20 years later. This book doesn't feel that dated - maybe the lack of cell phones or the use of a house phone makes it a little dated - but the theme is still relevant in today's world. A black boy dating a white, Jewish girl - something frowned upon by society. Maybe in todays New York City (where the story takes place) an interracial couple wouldn't get weird glances, but in other parts of the country, its still relevant even i ...more
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite parts of the book is the cover. It is bright, colorful, and you feel the joy that that the love has between them. I really liked the book which was a surprise to me. It was written by Jacqueline Woodson, celebrating it 20th Anniversary. This book is a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering why and if. I liked it very much. And it touched me on many areas in that area.

If You Come Softly is a love story. The novel tells of two young people, Miah and El
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
all the stars!!! this was so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. wow!
It's fine I'm fine that ending didn't come as a shocker I didn't go to bed crying or anything like that. 💔 ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just so touching and sad.
Usually when he read about death, it's always about the after, people even authors forget about the before, we forget that they love and lived.

This black kid was shot but it wasnt about the loss, it was about the life he lived, the love he had, who he gave his heart and who he loved. It is nothing but beautiful.

I need to read the second book.
Hélène Louise
(chronique en français ci-dessous)

A poignant story, melancholic and sad, but important.

A very short story but with such a good writing that much is said and felt without many words - just the right ones.

4 stars only because I can't thoroughly enjoy such a heartbreaking story.

(I received this book via my Life's Library subscription)


Voilà bien un livre qui ne m'aurait pas naturellement tentée en VF, entre le titre, la couverture (assez bateau je trouve) et la tranche âge indiquée 9 -1
The love at first sight was definitely a bit much, and I honestly wasn't compelled by the story. Like, this should have been a one-sitting book but I forgot about it for three days straight 🤷🏽‍♀️

I enjoyed the characters and the ending; the writing style was fine; but it just didn't stand out to me.
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this may have been written 20 years ago, but it could have been published just yesterday.
literally an actual work of art that left me with so many little feels.

I think the greatest part of this story is the simplicity--you don't need 300 pages to understand the struggles of interracial relationships and young love.

definitely fell in love. thank you, jacqueline woodson.
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
It seems like no one reads history; if you did, you would know that Jewish people were originally black (and some still are), so I don't get what's the problem with being with someone of color?! ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
beautiful yet heartbreaking.
Laura (bbliophile)
This book is absolutely incredible and I love it a lot. This is, hands down, one of the most well written books I've read this year. ...more
Samidha; समिधा
*this review might contain some MINOR SPOILERS*

I heard about this book when the twentieth anniversary edition came out, and some booktuber that I was following back then, had just finished reading it. Since then, this book was sitting on my GR shelf under “want to desperately buy.”

I finally managed to pick this one up, after four odd years and it’s not that I am disappointed, it’s just that I’ve read better. For when it was written and the time period, it is a remarkable book that portrays som
lexi ✨
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

jacqueline woodson managed to fit a great amount of detail & executed her story wonderfully in only 181 pages. i think that’s absolutely incredible.

i wasn’t 100% sold on the insta-romance between miah & ellie that blossomed in the beginning, but there is so much more to this book than just that. the messages & reality that jacquline woodson portrayed & revealed are so important & i really think that this is an important piece of work.

there are so many moments in this book where i thought
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2019
this broke my heart, i am glad i listened to the audiobook it was beautiful
Dawn Michelle
Brilliant, sad, tragic, overwhelming, amazing. Jacqueline Woodson makes you feel ALL the feels every single time she picks up a pen. While I wish I had been a bit more prepared in reading this [it is absolutely desperately sad], sometimes it is good to go in blind so you can truly feel all the feels with no preconceived notions.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-s-library
I read this as part of Life's Library (dftba) and it was really good! I think I'm a little out of the age demographic for this and part of the teenage puppy love were hard to relate to, but overall this is such a great look into privilege and racism and love. I'm thinking of picking up the companion novel. ...more
« 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 31 Feb 07, 2015 07:58AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria
  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost
  • Fula tjejer (Fula tjejer, #1)
  • En stark nolla
  • Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give, #0)
  • Prinsen av Porte de la Chapelle
  • Korridorer
  • Punching the Air
  • Chlorine Sky
  • Om det regnar i Ahvaz
  • Clap When You Land
  • You Should See Me in a Crown
  • Every Body Looking
  • Jag händer jämt
  • Maryam och mormorsmålet
  • Nattkorpen (Månvind & Hoff #1)
  • Grown
  • Väktarinnan (Viskornas dal, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Other books in the series

If You Come Softly (2 books)
  • Behind You

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
41 likes · 7 comments
“Time comes to us softly, slowly. It sits beside us for a while. Then, long before we are ready, it moves on.” 78 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.” 29 likes
More quotes…