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BEHIND YOU by Jacqueline Woodson


by Jacqueline Woodson

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-23988-X
Publisher: Putnam

A sequel to Woodson’s If You Come Softly (1998), in which Miah was mistakenly shot to death by police. Each of Miah’s friends and family, especially his girlfriend Ellie and mother Nelia, are isolated in grief. Miah himself is a shadow in the afterworld (and the story). His dead grandmother urges him to enjoy the pleasant afterlife, as she does, but he can’t let go of the people he left behind while they are hollowed by mourning. By end, they have been knit together, doubtless by Miah, in such a way that they find strength in their unity—an ability to survive together. Nelia will resume writing. Ellie has made connections with Miah’s friends. Miah is ready to continue without them towards his own new world. Written with Woodson’s characteristic focus on telling detail (the buttery quality of light in a kitchen), this is a tender, existential meditation on grief, interior in nature that will nevertheless touch readers who enjoyed (and wept over) the first. (Fiction. YA)