Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐(4 out of 5 stars)
Reviewed by: Lana Smith
This story is told as a novel in verse and follows a teenager named Will as he gets in the elevator of his apartment building following the murder of his brother Shawn by a shooting. Will has every intention of getting revenge for his brother by shooting who he thinks is responsible. As the elevator descends Will is joined by people from his past that offer insight into a world of violence and the consequences that come from following the “rules” of their neighborhood. With the story being told in verse it allows readers to dive right into this story without much background for what has happened. The book covers only a minute timespan from when Will gets in the elevator at the seventh floor to when he steps out in the lobby.
This book really captured my attention right away and I couldn’t put it down once I started it. The character’s vulnerability was unique to this type of story of an inner city kid. The story did have some language, but considering the setting it was appropriate for the character and fit the story. The spacing of the words on each page added an extra element to the writing and conveyed emotion by just how they were positioned on the page. For example, one page has a giant question mark made out of one word repeated and the impact it had was amazing to me. I thought this was so unique and made the story jump off the page.
I would recommend this to anyone that likes realistic fiction and stories that allow the reader to experience a world outside their own.