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Cover image for Long way down / Jason Reynolds ; illustrated by Chris Priestley.
Title:
Long way down / Jason Reynolds ; illustrated by Chris Priestley.
ISBN:
9780571335121
Publication Information:
London : Faber & Faber, 2018.
Physical Description:
1 volume : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York: Atheneum, 2017.
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Summary

Summary

AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTS
Everybody
ran,
ducked,
hid, tucked
themselves tight.

Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by
the buzz of a bullet,
didn't meet us.

After Will's brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don't cry. Don't snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn's gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will's friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he's doing.

This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.


Author Notes

Jason Reynolds is the author of When I Was the Greatest, for which he won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. His debut middle grade book, As Brave As You, was awarded the 2016 Kirkus Prize for young readers'. His other works include Boy in the Black Suit, and All American Boys.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Will, 15, is following his neighborhood's well-established rules-don't cry, don't snitch, but do get revenge "if someone you love/ gets killed"-when he leaves his apartment, intent on killing whoever murdered his older brother, Shawn. He's emboldened by the gun tucked into his waistband: "I put my hand behind my back/ felt the imprint/ of the piece, like/ another piece/ of me/ an extra vertebra,/ some more/ backbone." As Will makes his way to the ground floor of his building, the elevator stops to accept passengers, each an important figure from his past, all victims of gun violence. Are these ghosts? Or is it Will's subconscious at work, forcing him to think about what he intends to do and what it will accomplish? The story unfolds in the time it takes for the elevator to descend, and it ends with a two-word question that hits like a punch to the gut. Written entirely in spare verse, this is a tour de force from a writer who continues to demonstrate his skill as an exceptionally perceptive chronicler of what it means to be a black teen in America. Ages 12-up. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Fifteen-year-old Will, immobilized with grief when his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, slowly comes to mull The Rules in his head. There are three: dont cry, dont snitch, and if someone you love / gets killed, / find the person / who killed / them and / kill them. So Will locates Shawns gun, leaves his familys eighth-floor apartment, and--well, here is where this intense verse novel becomes a gripping drama, as on each floor of the descending elevator Will is joined by yet another victim or perpetrator in the chain of violence that took his brothers life. Shawns best friend Buck gets into the elevator on seven; Dani, Wills friend from childhood, gets in on six; Will and Shawns uncle Mark gets in on five, in a cloud of cigarette smoke. And so it goes, each stop of the elevator adding to the chorus of ghosts (including Will and Shawns father), each one with his or her perspective on The Rules. The poetry is stark, fluently using line breaks and page-turns for dramatic effect; the last of these reveals the best closing line of a novel this season. Read alone (though best aloud), the novel is a high-stakes moral thriller; its also a perfect if daring choice for readers theater. roger Sutton (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Long Way Down DON'T NOBODY believe nothing these days which is why 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. It happened to me. Really. It did. It so did. Excerpted from Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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