Long Way Down
By Jason Reynolds
Atheneum, 2017. 306 pages.
Fifteen-year-old Will lives by three rules: 1) no crying, 2) no snitching, and 3) always seek revenge. Will has done pretty well by the first two rules, but now it is time to put rule number three to the test. Will’s brother, Shawn, was shot dead the night before, and Will now finds himself with a gun tucked into his belt, on his way to kill his brother’s murderer. But as Will rides the elevator down to street level, he is visited by seven ghosts from his past that reveal truths that make Will question his resolve.
This book may be in verse, but it deals with some pretty heavy subject matters; grief over losing a loved one, gun violence, and the pressures of culture and society to name a few. The verse format makes it easy to read and a quick read. Nevertheless, this award-winning story will challenge how you view matters of right and wrong, the meaning of family, and what it means to be strong. I loved listening to the audiobook narrated by the author, as his voice lends some serious gravity to the story line.