Long Way Down

Long Way Down

eBook - 2017
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Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.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. Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9781481438278
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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FPL_JenB Nov 11, 2019

This book is a work of art. Read it, savor it, let it take you to another world- all in the space of an elevator ride. Jason Reynolds is a special author. I would say the voice of a generation. Listen to him.

Oct 21, 2019

This book was so moving! It is very eye opening and the prose is beautiful. Brings to mind the pressing current issues while also telling a compelling story in heart wrenching verse.

Oct 06, 2019

Told in verse so it’s a quick read but it’s told in verse so each word is full. I didn’t want to read it too quickly for fear of missing the weight of each word/verse. Very well told and readable.

Oct 02, 2019

Wow - this powerful, quick read just blew me away. Short conversations in verse form as 15YO Will descends an elevator on a dangerous errand force him to confront hard truths about his family and the cycle of gun violence. This is my first book by Reynolds, and now I'm eager to check out his others, especially Ghost, which was a National Book Award finalist.

Long Way Down is yet another striking example of how some of the best, most creative novels are labelled for young adults and overlooked by many adult readers. Don't let that fool you! I'm 62. :)

sarahbru17 Aug 14, 2019

Writing: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
I probably read this verse novel in an hour, yet it had me thinking about it long afterward. It went through some intense material very quickly, and I would need to read it several times over to fully absorb everything. The poetic style pulled me through the text effortlessly, and I imagine this would be a very popular read for reluctant readers.

Jun 18, 2019

Told in the time span of one minute, Long Way Down is a thought provoking novel (in verse) about a teenage boy who is seeking revenge on the man who killed his brother. On his way, he encounters five people that cause him to question 'The Rules' he's lived his life by. Reynolds' ability to hold the readers attention for 300 pages worth of one minute verse is impeccable. I'm eager to read more from this astounding author.

Feb 05, 2019

I must say, I thought the reviews were going to be great for this book, so the lack of reviews, and very poor ratings shock me(currently 1 star right now). To call this book terrible would be misleading; I could easily see people enjoying this book. However, it was not for me, nor is it for the vast majority of readers. Being Cafe Book nominated, I had high hopes coming in, but it was a big disappointment. There are a lot of things in this book that I really dislike, so I will make a checklist of things that I personally disliked. If you dislike 2 or more, I don't think you will enjoy this book.
1) Absolutely terrible grammar, to the extent I can't believe this was written by anyone older than 5.
2) Very anti-police.
3) Plot jumps all over the place, introduces characters and acts like we've known them forever.
4) About 10 words per page(great if you are logging pages though! It's about a 20 page book in about 300 pages!)
5) Characters go totally out of character.
6) Very depressing.
7) A cliff-hanger ending without all the good parts of cliff-hanger endings.
I don't know about you, but I checked all 7 boxes. Overall, I give this book a 4/10, and a "Would Strongly Discourage From Reading" review.

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 27, 2018

Heartbreaking in part because of its simplicity. Will's brother has been killed. Will KNOWS who did it and his world is bound by rules, one of which is revenge. As Will rides down in the elevator on his way to take revenge, a new person gets on at every floor. Will, over and over is shown the chain that "the rules" have tied him to.

Reynolds has trimmed all excess from the core problem of lives based on "the rules" without sacrificing character or plot. His quick lines are like a punch to the gut, and Reynolds doesn't leave us, or Will, with easy answers or aphorisms.

Nov 03, 2018

This book is absolutely astonishing. I love the fun writing style, although it is annoying at times. Besides that, it is a great novel with a very harsh meaning behind it. I find the idea of the main character, Will, in an elevator the whole time quite creative because taking an elevator only takes a few seconds and somehow the author, Jason Reynolds, made an entire book out of the situation.

0Charlie Oct 10, 2018

A selection from the 2018 OPL Teen Battle of the Books, this work provided challenges on several levels. First, the subject matter - a teen plans to get revenge for the shooting of his older brother. Second, the style - the entire story is presented in verse. While poetry is not my first choice, I found this style worked very well to relate the rhythms and phrases of the characters. It was also a fast read (sometimes very few words on the page) which supported the time frame of the story (just over 60 seconds). Highly recommended to any reader.

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Add Age Suitability
Jun 18, 2019

TheBookTheif thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 05, 2019

blue_dog_31717 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 03, 2018

amma13888 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

OPL_KrisC Apr 06, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Quote
Jun 18, 2019

it's weird to know
a person you don't know

and at the same time

not know
a person you know,

you know?”

Jun 18, 2019


is when you take a word and rearrange the letters to make another word. And sometimes the words are still somehow connected ex: CANOE = OCEAN. Same letters, different words, somehow still make sense together, like brothers.”

Jun 18, 2019



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