Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds

After his brother dies, fifteen-year old Will finds himself wanting to get revenge on his brother's murderer. He's sure he knows who did it. Well, he's pretty sure. At least, he thinks he's sure. He goes home and finds his brother's hidden gun. As he's descending in the elevator, which is going soooooo slow, the lift keeps stopping on ever floor, letting on an odd assortment of individuals, each of which leads Will to question his resolve and wonder what actually went down to lead to his brother getting shot in the chest.

The novel takes place over the course of a a few short minutes, though the reader, just like Will, is given the impression that time has slowed to a crawl. Long Way Down is a psychological and emotional journey through Will's subconscious. Reynolds' poetry is both beautiful and frightening in its brevity and impact. Young readers will hopefully find themselves invested in Will's internal journey as past figures and current ones help him understand the terrible legacy of wrongful pain, suffering, and death that stem from cycles of violence perpetuated in certain social situations.

Will himself is rendered in heartbreaking detail, psychologically and emotionally. It is my hope that, much like The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas) and All American Boys (Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely) confront police violence and racially motivated assault, Long Way Down will go down in history as a politically charged and timely account of breaking free form a seemingly unstoppable cycle of violence.

Highly Recommended

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out Oct. 17, 2017)

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