Book Review: A Ride Worth Remembering

A Long Way Down (2017)
Jason Reynolds

But if the blood
inside you is on the inside
of someone else,

you never want to
see it on the outside
of them.

Will’s older brother Shawn was shot and killed the day before yesterday. Now 15-year-old Will is following “the rules” of the neighborhood: do not cry, do not snitch, but get revenge. With Shawn’s gun stashed in his waistband, Will is riding an elevator on his way to hunt down the guy. The elevator takes only 66 seconds to travel down, but it turns out that Will is not riding alone….

Almost the entirety of Jason Reynold’s newest young adult novel takes place in those 66 seconds. Reynolds has jested that his novel-in-verse is a cross between A Christmas Carol and Boyz N the Hood. While it’s an apt description, Long Way Down is also a brilliantly-crafted piece of storytelling. The language is economical, but it does not spare the reader some very difficult questions. In my humble opinion, the novel deserves every accolade that has come its way since publication in October. More importantly, Long Way Down, like all of Reynolds’ recent novels, deserves a wide and growing readership.

Click here to order a copy.

Review by Laurel Cox, Reference and Young Adult Librarian.

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