Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds

Long Way DownWill’s brother, Shawn, was shot in front of him. Dead, lying in the street. While Will’s mother tried to drown her sorrow, Will went to the jammed drawer in Shawn’s dresser and got out his pistol. He knew the Rules, the Rules that Shawn lived by, and that their father had lived by before him. Because he loved Shawn, Will had to find his murderer and shoot him dead. He was pretty sure it was Carlson Riggs.

Will had never even touched a gun before, but he tucked the pistol in the back of his pants and got on the elevator. He hit the “L” button for the lobby, but it stopped on the very next floor, the 7th floor, where his Uncle Buck got on. His Uncle Buck, who was… dead.

The ride down to the lobby took one minute and seven seconds, but not a second was wasted. Each floor brought years of wisdom and memories, and the Will that lands in the lobby is seven stories older than the one who stepped into the elevator.

Written in crackling verse, this 304-page novel flies by. Jason Reynolds’ first YA novel packs a whirl of emotions—anger and sorrow, hatred and regret— into a tight economy of words. Here’s the problem for his readers to ponder: There are places where murder is so common that there are established rules for generations of boys to follow when it happens. How can they break out of that cycle of violence?

Highly recommended for teens and adults.

Disclaimer: I read an advance reader copy of this book, which will be available on October 24th. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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