If you Come Softly
Review by Allison W.
= Read & Recommend
First penned in 1998 by National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, this twist on Romeo and Juliet is years ahead of its time, touching on topics and events that so often make their way into the news today.
As a black teenager from Brooklyn, Jeremiah sticks out at his Manhattan prep school. Struggling to balance what seems like a double life, he tries for normalcy as much as possible by playing ball with his friends, cooking with his mother, and keeping his dad’s fame under wraps.
Ellie, a well-off Jewish girl, fits right in at school but finds herself the odd duck at home. She’s dramatically younger than the rest of her siblings so though her family could be considered large, she often finds herself home alone with her once estranged mother. On the first day of a new semester, Miah and Ellie meet for the first time and are immediately taken by one another.
Falling into a culturally forbidden romance, they deal with regular prejudice and misunderstanding from their peers, families, and strangers on the street.
Told from alternating view points, Miah and Ellie are forced to confront preconception head on in this beautiful and relatable tale that may just hit close to home.