Fifteen-year-old Will has to find the person who killed his older brother and kill him. That is the rule. He grabs his brother’s gun and takes the elevator down from his mom’s eighth-floor apartment. As he descends, the car stops on each floor and a person from his past steps in and speaks. These people—all dead—have been killed by the cycle of gun violence and poverty that ensnares Will. The author’s stark, fluid words are to be read in a single gulp, and the last line is killer, or hopefully not. Ages 12 and up.— Ga
Fifteen-year-old Will gets on the elevator with a gun in his waistband. On his 60-second journey to the lobby, Will has “the Rules” in mind: No crying, no snitching, and get revenge. Who he meets on the elevator will help determine what Will does when he hits the lobby. This graphic novelization of the award-winning novel in verse chronicling one Black boy’s dilemma will grab you and not let go. A great choice for middle-grade to adult readers.— Noreen
“A novel in verse that spans the length of time it takes for an elevator to descend, Long Way Down finds Will mourning the death of his brother and grappling with the burden of avenging his murder. Will’s grief permeates every page, from his recollections of everyday childhood memories to his encounters with other figures from his past whose lives were destroyed by gun violence. Jason Reynolds says more with a stanza than most authors can say with a chapter.”
— Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019
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.