Long Way Down
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Long Way Down

4.32 (42,745 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A Newbery Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
A Printz Honor Book
A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner for Young Adult Literature
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature
Winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award
An Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Fiction
Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner
An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2017
A Vulture Best YA Book of 2017
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 147 x 211 x 28mm | 454g
  • English
  • 1481438255
  • 9781481438254
  • 62,402

Review quote

The newest work for teens by Jason Reynolds (author of As Brave As You and Ghost, and 2017 Indies First spokesperson) begins with 15-year-old William speaking directly to the reader: "I haven't/ told nobody the story/ I'm about to tell you./ And truth is, you probably ain't/ gon' believe it either/ gon' think I'm lying/ or I'm losing it, / but I'm telling you, / this story is true." The day before yesterday, Will's older brother, Shawn, went to the other side of their largely black neighborhood--purportedly crossing rival lines--to get their mother special soap for her eczema. Shortly after Shawn left, Will and his friend, who were talking outside, heard shots. They immediately did what they had been trained to do: "Pressed our lips to the/ pavement and prayed/ the boom, followed by/ the buzz of a bullet, / ain't meet us." Afterward, Will says, "me and Tony/ waited like we always do, / for the rumble to stop, / before picking our heads up/ and poking our heads out/ to count the bodies./ This time/ there was only one" Shawn. "[I]f the blood/ inside you," Will tells the reader, "is on the inside/ of someone else/ you never want to/ see it on the outside of/ them." Now, two days later, Will is heartbroken and desperate as he abides by "The Rules" he's been taught all of his life; he won't cry and he won't snitch. And, most importantly, he plans to follow through with the third rule: "if someone you love/ gets killed, / find the person/ who killed/ them and/ kill them." He finds a gun in Shawn's dresser--one bullet under a full clip--and sets off to kill the person who killed his brother. With the gun tucked into the waistband of his pants, Will gets on the elevator at 9:08:02 a.m. The next 200-plus pages of action take place between the time Will enters the elevator and when it reaches the lobby a moment later, at 9:09:09 a.m. As Will takes the long trip down, a new person boards at every floor. Each new person is a friend or loved one from Will's past; each new person is dead, a victim of gun violence. As the ghosts of those killed congregate in the elevator to tell Will their stories, their interconnected tales are untangled and Will begins to see how the things he thinks he knows may not be true at all, and that The Rules just perpetuate the cycle of violence and keep everyone down. Will's trip between floors and through time is powerful and painful. Reynolds's work is rich with symbolism, the verse lending a feeling of immediacy to the 300-page, 60-second journey. Long Way Down is an intense read with a beautifully ambiguous ending that highlights the humanity of those who are regularly touched by and contribute to gun violence. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness Shelf Talker: Will is visited by the ghosts of victims of gun violence as he prepares to kill someone himself in Jason Reynolds's thoughtful and captivating Long Way Down.--Shelf Awareness "September 6, 2017"
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Rating details

42,745 ratings
4.32 out of 5 stars
5 51% (21,660)
4 35% (15,128)
3 11% (4,676)
2 2% (909)
1 1% (372)
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