Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, YA
Pages: 240


A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

I received a copy of this book for review, this does not influence my thoughts on this book or this review.

I’m a huge fan of Jason Reynolds’ work and verse novels so when I heard that Reynolds’ latest novel would be a powerful verse novel, I knew I’d have to read it. As expected, Long Way Down is not one to miss.

When Will’s brother is murdered, Will thinks the only way to make this right is to avenge his death. So Will does what the rules tell him and grabs his brother’s gun. In the elevator on the way down to get his revenge, he’s confronted by people from his past. This powerful verse novel is truly unforgettable and will definitely have you thinking.

This novel is hard to describe in adjectives other than amazing and unforgettable. This is definitely a fast-paced novel and has a premise that is both intense and engaging in the best way. Long Way Down is truly remarkable and I highly recommend it to every reader and teacher. I think this one would make a powerful book club book in all communities and especially in high schools.

If you’ve yet to read a Jason Reynolds novel, you’re definitely missing out. And if you don’t pick this one up, you’re missing one of the best books of the year.

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