Friday, January 23, 2015

If You Come Softly (If You Come Softly, #1) by Jacqueline Woodson

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 books this month. *cringes*). It has been consistently checked out of the library for months, but I found this book of hers the last time I was there, so I decided to give it a shot.

Let me tell you, I almost closed the book as soon as I opened it. This isn't because it didn't look good. It looked great. However, this is one of those books that opens by pretty much warning you that something bad is going to happen. It tells you, "Hey, get ready. You're probably gonna cry when you read this." I wasn't sure I wanted to cry, so I almost skipped it, but the story sounded too good, so I read anyway. Just letting you know now, I definitely cried.

If You Come Softly, is a love story about a boy and girl living in New York City in the late nineties. Jeremiah (Miah), a black boy, and Elisha (Ellie), a white Jewish girl, both transfer to Percy, a prep school that neither of them are very thrilled about attending. When they meet on the first day, sparks fly and it isn't long before they are both falling head over heels for each other. However, all anyone else seems to notice is the color of their skin and it isn't long before the world starts trying to tear them apart.

This was a pretty short book, but definitely the kind that draws you in and makes the reader feel like they know the characters within the first two or three chapters. I love when books can hook you that quickly. Miah and Ellie were believable characters who felt very human. They made mistakes, they loved each other and were still embarrassed about the way people acted about the two of them being together. They were very three dimensional for such a short book and I found that extremely pleasing.
Like I said, I definitely cried in this book and I cried more than once, so keep your tissues handy.

This was an excellent novel that covered young love and romance, while still confronting racism, racial bias, and deep-seated prejudices that we like to pretend don't still exist in society today. Definitely an amazing book. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Rating: ★★★★

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