Long Way Down
A cannon. A strap.A piece. A biscuit.A burner. A heater.A chopper. A gat.A hammerA toolfor RULEOr, 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.

Long Way Down Details

TitleLong Way Down
Author
ReleaseOct 24th, 2017
PublisherAtheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
ISBN-139781481438254
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Long Way Down Review

  • Jillian Heise
    January 1, 1970
    240 pages67 seconds7 floors6 visitorsEach with a pieceof the storynot knownuntil now.Will grievinghis brotherwith a gunand a targetthinking he knowswhat he has to dofollowingThe Ruleswondering what to dowhoto beand what comes next.Jason Reynolds is masterful in the way he can use such sparse language in these free verse poems for such a powerful and emotional impact. I'm going to be talking about and sharing this book for a very long time. Jason's skill at putting words together that grab your h 240 pages67 seconds7 floors6 visitorsEach with a pieceof the storynot knownuntil now.Will grievinghis brotherwith a gunand a targetthinking he knowswhat he has to dofollowingThe Ruleswondering what to dowhoto beand what comes next.Jason Reynolds is masterful in the way he can use such sparse language in these free verse poems for such a powerful and emotional impact. I'm going to be talking about and sharing this book for a very long time. Jason's skill at putting words together that grab your heart and head, bringing you into the lives of his characters, kids just trying their best to do what's right and live the way they've been taught, astounds me. Long Way Down is no different. This book is going to have an impact. The type of impact that makes you question what you thought you knew and how life can be. This is a must-read and must-share in classrooms (7th & up), especially in those rooms where you have teens who are living Will's life with the rules he's been taught to life by.I can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy, to reread, sit with his words and turns of phrase, and find the spots that bear repeating to kids in our classrooms. I can picture the faces in my head of the former students I wish were still in my classroom so I could put this book right into their hands.
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  • Trin
    January 1, 1970
    Me on Page 1: Oh great, another novel in verse.Me on Page, like, 5: HOLY SHIT.Then I read the whole thing in one sitting.Incredibly powerful, beautifully written. Reynolds doesn't use the device of verse as a crutch; he wields it like a weapon. I think I held my breath for the entire book, and the ending left me gasping. Truly unforgettable.
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  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    *Disclaimer: An ARC of Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds was provided to me by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.This is one of those stories that will stay with you forever. Even though it was a super quick read, it was completely engaging and I'll definitely be thinking about this one for a long time. The story is so uniquely written and it hits you hard. Loved it!Stay tuned for a full review coming soon!
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  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    I honestly believe that in 50 years, when people are making lists of the best YA books of all time, that this will be at the top of the list. Full disclosure: I am not usually a verse lover. So far, there have been few exceptions. But this book? If any book could make me believe in verse novels, it's one by Jason Reynolds. I still have chills thinking about the ending of this, and I think I'll have it on my mind for a long time. It is already in my top list of best YA books I have ever read
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  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    I've read the summary of the book a few times but it did not prepare me for this book. Jason Reynolds is bloody brilliant.
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say? This continues to cement Reynolds' significance in YA literature. This magical realism approach to a powerful decision that our main character must make is genius. The verse? Spot on with a slow but quickly unfolding narratives with plenty of cliffhangers as you turn pages AND END THE BOOK. The hallmark of a truly sensational storyteller. I just can't take his amazingness. He is quality and substance with a countdown that leaves readers breathless- the smoke-filled elevator and a What can I say? This continues to cement Reynolds' significance in YA literature. This magical realism approach to a powerful decision that our main character must make is genius. The verse? Spot on with a slow but quickly unfolding narratives with plenty of cliffhangers as you turn pages AND END THE BOOK. The hallmark of a truly sensational storyteller. I just can't take his amazingness. He is quality and substance with a countdown that leaves readers breathless- the smoke-filled elevator and all.
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  • Mary H
    January 1, 1970
    When I hear a novel is in verse, I immediately become completely uninterested. Verse just isn't my preferred medium. But I took a chance on Long Way Down, and WOW. I'm so glad I did. This novel made me feel ALL THE THINGS. Long Way Down is a super personal look at the way gun violence has affected one boy and his family, but it also shows how one person's actions can change an entire neighborhood and how tradition and being set in our ways can have a long-lasting *negative* impact on so many peo When I hear a novel is in verse, I immediately become completely uninterested. Verse just isn't my preferred medium. But I took a chance on Long Way Down, and WOW. I'm so glad I did. This novel made me feel ALL THE THINGS. Long Way Down is a super personal look at the way gun violence has affected one boy and his family, but it also shows how one person's actions can change an entire neighborhood and how tradition and being set in our ways can have a long-lasting *negative* impact on so many people. Do yourself a favor and read this book. It honestly does not take a long time. It's deceptively quick, and I promise you'll be a better person at the end of it.
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Amazingly powerful YA story in verse, including elements of magical realism. Reynolds pounds home messages about family, gun violence and life choices using terse lyrical language in this brief and timely volume that definitely requires acceptance by the reader of the impact of voices from beyond the grave to teach harsh life lessons. Required purchase for high school libraries.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Easily my favorite Reynolds YA title. The verse is excellent, the story is well-paced, the set-up of 60 seconds on an elevator is creative, and the ending is a gut punch.
  • Stef
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the awesome teen librarian who gave me this ARC. I was so grateful to read it before it's released! This book is a whole other level when it comes to novels in verse. Probably the only one I've read in the format that I've thoroughly enjoyed.
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  • Alexa L
    January 1, 1970
    100% would read Jason Reynolds' grocery lists. Every single time I read something new of his it's even better than his last book. I'm blown away
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Full review coming soon.
  • Jenefer R
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Jason Reynolds does it again. Powerfully, heavy hitting and necessary. This book is a must for every classroom library. It is written in verse which makes it easy to read and something I am quick to recommend to any of my students who want to tackle a novel but needs some scaffolding. Ellen Hopkins books are really popular and now I know this one will be a hit too. The characters are relevant and could be your brother, cousin, or friend. The content is serious in nature and tackled well. I Wow! Jason Reynolds does it again. Powerfully, heavy hitting and necessary. This book is a must for every classroom library. It is written in verse which makes it easy to read and something I am quick to recommend to any of my students who want to tackle a novel but needs some scaffolding. Ellen Hopkins books are really popular and now I know this one will be a hit too. The characters are relevant and could be your brother, cousin, or friend. The content is serious in nature and tackled well. I have nothing negative to say about it except...I want to read more about this character's future!
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  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not usually a fan of books in verse but, oh man, this one is a gut punch. Jason Reynolds is a storyteller unlike no other.
  • Beth Parmer
    January 1, 1970
    A must-read. Brilliant.
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster.So I actually think that of all the Jason Reynolds books I've read (and that includes the not yet published Miles Morales novel and the first chapter of Patina that I had the opportunity to hear) this one is my least favorite. Even though it's a verse novel, it isn't that lyrical.... for Jason Reynolds ... and it's a little heavy handed on character and on theme.And yet.And yet I am giving this book a five star review because this is the one that the tee I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster.So I actually think that of all the Jason Reynolds books I've read (and that includes the not yet published Miles Morales novel and the first chapter of Patina that I had the opportunity to hear) this one is my least favorite. Even though it's a verse novel, it isn't that lyrical.... for Jason Reynolds ... and it's a little heavy handed on character and on theme.And yet.And yet I am giving this book a five star review because this is the one that the teen readers are going to adore. I've spent the better part of a year and a half trying to get seventh graders to see the magic of Ghost and As Brave As You, but my readers tend to privilege action and conflict over character voice. This book does just that -- it puts the action and conflict at the center as our main character contemplates revenge for his brother's death.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I was totally gripped by this haunting, clipped-paced conversation with ghosts in an elevator! Written as a novel-in-verse, this is the heartbreaking story of 15-year-old Will who loses his older brother Shawn to gun violence on his way to the corner store to run an errand for their mother. Will's vengeful contemplation is condensed into 60 seconds in an elevator, the time it takes to make a life-altering decision: does Will follow the 'rules of revenge' or step off that inherited cycle of viole I was totally gripped by this haunting, clipped-paced conversation with ghosts in an elevator! Written as a novel-in-verse, this is the heartbreaking story of 15-year-old Will who loses his older brother Shawn to gun violence on his way to the corner store to run an errand for their mother. Will's vengeful contemplation is condensed into 60 seconds in an elevator, the time it takes to make a life-altering decision: does Will follow the 'rules of revenge' or step off that inherited cycle of violence into a different future? This is about brotherhood, inherited cycles of violence, and the tender, fleeting relationships we have with the present tense. With Will's fresh and searing grief, he creates a world in his imagination where those he's lost to gun violence visit him on his way down the elevator, on his way to track and shoot Shawn's alleged killer. In this imagined dream-like haunted space, enemies reconcile, greet each other like old friends, and stand near this grieving boy to remind him of who he is while warning him, too, that what we believe about a situation is not always the whole story. One of the most chilling moments is when the ghost of Will's father visits him. Will's father was killed when he was only three and barely remembers him, yet they talk almost like old friends. In a chilling turn of events, Will's dad takes his gun from him and holds it to his head. The act makes Will piss his pants with fear and triggers him wake up and think with vivid clarity about what he's planning to do to another. A completely breath-taking scene -- vivid and palpable. My heart raced! The text as a whole is totally riveting, sharp prose that runs deep while confirming that some decisions we make take us a 'long way down.' Loved this. I read this in preparation for a professional development series for teachers and as an educator, there are so many soulful assignments and writing exercises sourced as from the text itself, ranging from content to poetic forms. I finished this book in less than an hour and want to read it again already!
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  • Mary Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    Will is ready to get revenge on the guy who took his brother's life. But then through a series of encounters he realizes it might not be so cut and dry.Told in verse this powerful book shows the toll the eye for eye way of thinking can take. Most of the book takes place in the elevator of Will's apartment building. Those in his life who have been taken by gun violence appear in the 60 seconds it take to go from floor to floor to lobby. Family, friends, strangers, these people show him he does ha Will is ready to get revenge on the guy who took his brother's life. But then through a series of encounters he realizes it might not be so cut and dry.Told in verse this powerful book shows the toll the eye for eye way of thinking can take. Most of the book takes place in the elevator of Will's apartment building. Those in his life who have been taken by gun violence appear in the 60 seconds it take to go from floor to floor to lobby. Family, friends, strangers, these people show him he does have a choice to make as to whether he is going to meet violence with violence.Great for discussion.From advanced reader copy.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Of course I loved this book written by my author crush. William's brother is shot and killed, and so he's going to seek revenge and go after the man (boy?) he thinks pulled the trigger. After the setup, the whole story takes place in the 90 second elevator ride down to the ground level, so William can go find the killer. The whole thing is heart-wrenching - that this is life for some people and others think it's just a story, that I feel helpless in facilitating meaningful change, that there's n Of course I loved this book written by my author crush. William's brother is shot and killed, and so he's going to seek revenge and go after the man (boy?) he thinks pulled the trigger. After the setup, the whole story takes place in the 90 second elevator ride down to the ground level, so William can go find the killer. The whole thing is heart-wrenching - that this is life for some people and others think it's just a story, that I feel helpless in facilitating meaningful change, that there's no clear cut answer on how to solve these issues. 5 stars because it's a book that can be read in one sitting and can pull in reluctant readers (it's in verse). Another winner from Jason Reynolds. (Can someone please give him my number so we can go on a date????)
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  • Mrs. Krajewski
    January 1, 1970
    In Will's neighborhood, there are three rules that every follows: no crying, no snitching, and get revenge. Will knows these rules as well as anyone else, and therefore knows he must follow them. The night before, his older brother Shawn was shot and killed. Will knows who did it, and he knows where Shawn kept his gun. He grabs it, knowing, as he enters the elevator, what he plans to do with it. It's a long way down though--seven floors to be exact--and Will has a lot to think about. I have read In Will's neighborhood, there are three rules that every follows: no crying, no snitching, and get revenge. Will knows these rules as well as anyone else, and therefore knows he must follow them. The night before, his older brother Shawn was shot and killed. Will knows who did it, and he knows where Shawn kept his gun. He grabs it, knowing, as he enters the elevator, what he plans to do with it. It's a long way down though--seven floors to be exact--and Will has a lot to think about. I have read all of Jason Reynolds's books, and I have loved every single one. This one is a favorite (if that's possible)! Jason is such a talented storyteller and poet. I will be thinking about this book for a long time and definitely rereading when it comes out in October.
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  • Aaron
    January 1, 1970
    The last 50 or so pages are especially brilliant, but the last page... wow. This writer can do so much in just a few pages, just a few words. The vicious cycle is brilliantly presented in a way that will stick with readers.
  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Other than the absolute wretched formatting issues of reading the ARC on the Kindle (missing letters, especially double T's and F's), a really great, fast, and interesting read. A Window for most of those in the community served by my local library, to be sure.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. I felt like I won the jackpot when I got the ARC in my seasonal delivery from Simon and Schuster yesterday. I finished this in about an hour because it was so fast-paced I couldn't stop and I HAD TO KNOW THE ENDING. I NEEDED to know. So good - it'll be great to suggest to reluctant readers. Very minimal cursing. Now I want to read it again slowly.
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  • Jen Petro-Roy
    January 1, 1970
    What a powerful ending.
  • Brenda Kahn
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful haunting free-verse novel that spans the time it takes for an elevator to drop from the seventh floor to the ground floor, where a brother intends to avenge his brother's death.
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    What can't this man do???😍😍
  • Casey Leidig
    January 1, 1970
    I read this last night until I couldn't keep my eyes open and finished it first thing this morning. Striking and powerful. Review to come.
  • Hallie
    January 1, 1970
    Another amazing Jason Reynolds book. This one will be perfect for book clubs and reluctant readers
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Fifteen year old Will must decide whether he will avenge his brother's death by killing the person he believes is responsible. This is an intensely powerful verse novel about revenge, violence, family, and grief. A painfully relevant story that will be easy to share and will encourage discussion.
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    Superb! Another powerful book from the incredible Jason Reynolds! With extraordinary use of such few words, he manages to build suspense and doubt in this heart stopping narrative!
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