Long Way Down

September 20, 2017 Reviews 0

Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books on October 24th 2017
Pages: 320
Format: ARC

A cannon. A strap.A piece. A biscuit.A burner. A heater.A chopper. A gat.A hammerA toolfor 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.

This book was fucking amazing… The description of Will’s sorrow at losing his brother just broke me, because I know this feeling, and the way it was described is so visceral, so intense, and so. Fucking. Real. I couldn’t put this book down–by which I mean the PDF file open on my screen, drawing me in and forcing me to finish the whole book in one sitting.

Last year, almost to the day, my brother passed away. And I may not have been raised with The Rules like Will, but you’re damn right they seem to have seeped their way under my skin. No crying. No snitching. Revenge.

The description of sorrow, the kicking in the throat, the tooth that’s missing–hell, the tooth that has been ripped out forcefully, not just missing… all these images evoked those same feelings from last year. It was cathartic as I allowed myself the chance to really feel those feelings instead of pushing them away.

But that’s not where this book ends–not with sorrow. Instead, Will is confronted with the past, with The Rules, with how those rules have impacted so many lives. In the span of sixty seconds, Will learns a little bit about grief, about how it can make people do crazy things like seek revenge, about how the way we perceive the world when we are grieving may not be reality. Just because we think we know, doesn’t mean we know.

When this book comes out, you should read it. It may be a short read because it’s all told in verse, but it’s one hell of a powerhouse.

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