Even though Miah was black and Ellie is white, they made sense together. Then Miah was killed. It was the end of their relationship, but it was the beginning of grief for the many people who loved him. Now Miah’s mother has stopped trying, his friends are lost, and Ellie does not know how to move on. And then there is Miah, watching; unable to let go. This beautiful novel explores the experiences of those left behind after a tragedy.
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Jacqueline Woodson lives in Brooklyn, New York.From School Library Journal:
Grade 8-10–In this poignant, stand-alone sequel to the wrenching romance, If You Come Softly (Putnam, 1998), Woodson's characters are dealing with grief and picking up the pieces of their lives after the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah (Miah) Roselind. The impact of their loss is revealed through the alternating voices of his white girlfriend, Ellie; basketball teammate, Kennedy; childhood friend, Carlton; and his separated parents. As a year passes and these characters take "a step deeper into their world.... The world they're learning to live in without you," Miah's spiritual voice searches for a final, parting moment to whisper that they are loved so that they can move on into their own futures. With tenderness and compassion, the author exposes the characters' vulnerabilities and offers the hope that they will emerge and grow from this tragic loss. Although the voices are distinct, a quiet, reflective tone pervades the story. Interestingly, each character opens up and changes in some way except Ellie's parents, who espouse liberal views but never accepted their daughter's African-American boyfriend or his friends. Readers who savor tough reality stories as much as happy endings will appreciate this thought-provoking, satisfying novel that offers hope but no easy answers.–Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
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