If You Come Softly: 20th Anniversary Edition

May 18, 2018 Audiobook Review, Book Review 0

I received this Audiobook from publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If You Come Softly: 20th Anniversary EditionIf You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
Published by Penguin on March 6, 2018
Pages: 208
Source: Audiobook from publisher

A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children's Literature Jacqueline Woodson--now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and including a new preface by the 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 moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they fit together--even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.

Jacqueline Woodson's work has been called "moving and resonant" (Wall Street Journal) and "gorgeous" (Vanity Fair). If You Come Softly is a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only . . .

My Thoughts:

When given the opportunity to review an audiobook of the 20th anniversary edition of If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, I jumped at the chance.I’ve read Woodson’s picture books and her autobiographical Brown Girl Dreaming, but I had never read her YA fiction. What a mistake!

This book is short (the audiobook is just under 4 hours) but packs an emotional punch. I was listening to the second half of the book on my way back from a book event two hours away. I started crying just as I was getting to the exit for home. I was holding back sobs as I drove into town. I was so invested in the story that I sat in my car, in my driveway, openly weeping for about the last 30 minutes of the book. And I mean openly weeping… heaving sobs and all. I just could not stop the tears. I don’t think I’ve cried that much from a book since Code Name Verity broke me.

Woodson is such an incredible writer. Obviously that’s no secret. She’s our current National Ambassador for Children’s Literature, for goodness sake! But it’s one thing to know she is amazing at crafting and telling a story and another thing to experience it. Like, I knew this book would not have a happy ending going into it (The summary and preface made that clear.) But it’s so short. How invested would I really be? Ha ha ha ha ha. SO CRAZY INVESTED! You just fall for Jeremiah and Ellie, as individuals and together.

If You Come Softly is such a beautiful and heartbreaking story. It’s even more heartbreaking when you think about how little has changed since it was first published twenty years ago. An important read, 100% worth every tear.

Audiobook Notes: If you are an audiobook person, I highly recommend listening to this one. If you are not an audiobook person, I highly recommend listening to this one. The narration was perfection and listening to Jeremiah and Ellie tell their stories was incredibly powerful. Listen to en excerpt here.

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