Long Way Down: Book summary and reviews of Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down

by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds X
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2017
    320 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary



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 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


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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Book Awards

  • award image Edgar Awards, 2018

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This powerful work is an important addition to any collection." - School Library Journal

"Starred Review. 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; it's also a perfect if daring choice for readers' theater." - The Horn Book

"Starred Review. Spanning a mere one minute and seven seconds, Reynolds' new free-verse novel is an intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger." - Booklist

"Starred Review. This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly

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Reader Reviews

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Arcticflower

Interesting
A story written in verse, "Long Way Down" seemingly captures gang violence perfectly. About three hundred pages, it's about a teen who is trying to cope with the recent loss of his brother. An elusive ending will leave most readers hungering for more. Spine-chilling, it has eleven awards, and will likely enrapture anyone willing to read it. I would recommend this to those who like free verse, or who find dark stories morphing only slightly from reality pleasing. I believe this would be adequate to read between ages twelve and sixteen, although age doesn't really matter. Mild verbal profanity.

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Author Information

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. The American Booksellers Association's 2017 and 2018 spokesperson for Indies First, his many books include When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black SuitAll American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (GhostPatinaSunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

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