Review: Long Way Down
Title: Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds
Published: 24 October 2017
Pages/Hours: 306/1 hour
Format: Audiobook from Overdrive.
Memorable quote: “ANOTHER THING ABOUT THE RULES
They weren’t meant to be broken.
They were meant for the broken
Themes: Cycle of violence, family, choices, grief
Synopsis: In sixty seconds, Will must decide whether or not he is going to murder the person who he believes kill his brother. With his deceased brother’s gun in the back waistband of his jeans, Will steps into his building’s elevator and hits the “L” button. He knows that by killing his brother’s killer, he will be following “The Rules” (No crying. No Snitching. Revenge). However as the elevator stops on each floor, Will runs into different people who were connected to his brother – but these people were all dead, all killed by someone else with a gun.
As Will learns more and more, the choice he needs to make becomes blurry. Will he follow the rules? Or will he break the cycle he has sworn to live by?
I’m going to start by saying that I got to listen to Jason Reynolds at ALA in New Orleans, and WOW. He’s an incredible speaker. His writing is also amazing, powerful, and full of emotion.
I chose Long Way Down as a bookclub book for the teens at work, and I think they’ll have a lot to talk about.
I did listen to this book instead of reading it, but I could still feel the poetic writing while listening to it. I was anxious for Will, constantly wishing he would just put the gun back, but also knowing that he has to be the one to make the choice. As he meets more ghosts, I think he realizes that if he continues the cycle of revenge, he will probably end up dead, too.
The language and number of words in this story is limited, yet Reynolds conveys such strong imagery, messages, and emotions. Reynolds is also the one who reads the book, and I honestly can’t imagine anyone else doing it. His choice adds this extra layer of strength to the text that sent chills down my spine.
This book is so difficult to review, I’m sorry there isn’t much to mine.
Long Way Down is a book that will make you think about the cycle of violence and how complicated it really is, and also what will happen if it is never broken. The book is fiction, but we know this is happening. People are killing and being killed over a set of rules and violence is king.