If You Come Softly

by Jacqueline Woodson

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

If You Come Softly written by Jacqueline Woodson is a young adult novel about an interracial relationship. It takes place in Manhattan.

The story begins with a dream that Elisha Eisen—or Ellie—has about a boy named Miah. Miah (Jeremiah Roselind) is an African American high school student who enjoys playing basketball and comes from divorced parents. Ellie's mom tries to get her to remember as much of the dream as she can.

When she is fifteen, Ellie first meets Miah and falls quickly in love. The two teens have a lot in common, especially with their home lives, but their relationship is looked down upon by family members as well as strangers because of their difference in skin color. For example, Ellie's sister tells her to be careful of beginning an interracial relationship because there are many challenges to tackle. Another example is when Ellie and Miah are in Central Park and are approached by two old women. The women are concerned that Ellie is being attacked by Miah, and they are worried that she is not okay.

The only person who truly accepts the relationship, besides Ellie and Miah, is Miah's mother. Just after Ellie has decided to introduce Miah to her own family, however, Miah is shot and killed in Central Park by police who are searching for a black male suspect.

Ellie and her parents attend Miah's funeral. She graduates from high school and realizes that life moves on whether people want it to or not.

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