Review: If You Come Softly, Jacqueline Woodson



I particularly hate to say meh when it’s a young-adult book to which I am saying it, because I feel like if I say meh to a young-adult book, I am becoming one of those people who turn up their noses at young adult books and do not pay any attention to YA rock stars like Laurie Halse Anderson and Patrick Ness and, well, and Jacqueline Woodson.  I am not one of those people!  Except that I have only read one of Jacqueline Woodson’s books after hearing about her all over the place, and it was If You Come Softly, and I could have lived without it.

It’s about a Jewish girl and a black boy at a fancy private school, and they fall in love.  There was no single aspect of the book that I disliked.  I thought it was great that Woodson didn’t dive into the pool of forbidden love clichés, with raging, unreasonable parents.  Miah and Ellie were both fully realized characters with fully realized family backgrounds and problems in their lives.  Woodson touches on a lot of YA staples – race, gay characters, divorce, abandonment – without turning the book into a by-the-numbers YA Issue Book.

Still, though: Meh.  Turns out, avoiding pitfalls is not enough to make a book awesome.  I like it that Woodson didn’t get all Romeo-and-Juliet melodrama on us, but I got a bit bored with the quiet, peaceful tone.  I wanted some ACTION.  And when something finally did happen, it was, let us say, unsatisfactory to me.

I have not been reading very much lately.  I reread the first through third Harry Potter books, and I’ve been reading this one book about modern India, but I am stressed about moving, and when I’m stressed, I read fewer new books.  I watched The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy and then I saw this interview where Matt Damon called James Bond an imperialist misogynistic sociopath, so then I watched him on Inside the Actors Studio to see what other awesome things he would say.  And you know, when I watch one episode of Inside the Actors Studio, I have to watch ten more.  So I have been doing that too.

Other reviews:

Regular Rumination
Rhapsody in Books
Book Addiction
My Friend Amy
Reading in Color
Maw Books Blog
One Librarian’s Book Reviews
You’ve GOTTA Read This!

Tell me if I missed yours!