Long Way Down

Jason Reynolds

“IN CASE YOU AIN’T KNOW, gunshots make everybody deaf and blind especially when they make somebody dead.”

“Somebody told me once a month the moon blacks out and becomes new and the next night be back to normal. I’ll tell you one thing, the moon is lucky it’s not down here where nothing is ever new.”

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 7.01.23 PMI have been waiting to read this book for months! Finallllyyyy Long Way Down was available to borrow through my local library. I will most definitely be adding it to my personal library soon. Long Way Down is written in staccato narrative verse, which is not my favorite style of storytelling but I can’t imagine Long Way Down in any other way.

Shawn, Will’s older brother, was shot and killed. Will, his mother, and the community are morning Shawn’s death. Will doesn’t know what to do, other than what the rules say.

  1. No crying.
  2. No snitching.
  3. Revenge.

He shared a room with his brother, he lays at night and thinks about how he is gone. But something else is also bothering him. Will found his brother’s gun in the bedroom. Now he must make a life-changing decision as he rides the elevator down–will shoot his brother’s killer?

I know what you’re thinking because I thought it as well. How does one tell a story in 350 pages about a 60-second elevator ride? I had my doubts. Will then sneaks out of the apartment to have an unforgettable elevator ride. As the elevator stops on each floor people connected to Shawn hop on. Each sharing their story and adding to Shawn’s as well. Will learns more than he ever knew about his brother and is faced with an even bigger decision–will he end the cycle?

I wish I could say there was a happy ending, but not all books need one to be powerful/moving. I enjoy reading urban reads because the story feels real and gritty. I liked this book, but it is not for everyone. If gun violence, death, gang activity, drugs, or topics covered in urban ya reads do not read this book. I recommend Long Way Down. It would be a perfect book for a reluctant reader or a day read. If you have read Long Way Down you should check out Afterlife by Gary Soto.

Have you read A Long Way Down? Do you want to? Have you read any similar reads?


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