Thursday, July 5, 2018

REVIEW: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds - Erin

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM
22552026Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
ISBN 9781481438254
Library Audio Book

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.  (Goodreads)



This is a powerful read. I feel like it had even more of an impact because I listened to it and heard it from a voice not my own. It made it feel more real. Like someone was standing there telling me the story of their life. I’m not sure if I had read it instead if it would have been the same way.  I don’t usually pick up novels in verse, that’s why I waited so long to read this one. For some reason the format doesn’t really appeal to me. Listening to it being read though was a whole new experience. If I hadn’t known already I don’t think that I would have picked up on it being a novel in verse. The story is just that well crafted. It’s sad and will probably anger you. I couldn’t believe the “rules” that the people in this situation are suppose to follow blindly. There’s so much that can go wrong in their vicious cycle. One person dies, then a loved one is suppose to go get revenge by killing the killer, but by that loved one killing someone another loved one steps up to take revenge on the original revenge killing. Where does it stop?!? I know that in the real world that this is really how some people live. I know that kids can’t play outside in some areas for fear of being shot. I remember going to school with my mom, who was a teacher in one of these areas, and having her tell me to stay away from the windows because shootings happened outside the school on almost a daily basis. It’s a scary way to live. It’s also scary to think that this is how people live and no one stops it. This book is beautifully worded and might change your look on things. And the ending…. DAM! I want to know what our main character chooses. I want to believe he ends the stream of violence but at the same time I know that’s not how his world works and getting out of the cycle is probably almost impossible. I whole heartily recommend listening to this book, or reading it if you don’t mind novels in verse. 

*To see more of Erin's reviews please click her signature to go to her blog


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