Long Way Down (Hardcover)
Will's brother Shawn was just murdered outside their apartment complex. He spends that night stunned with grief and wakes early the next day to find and kill the person who shot Shawn. As Will rides the elevator down to the lobby, the car stops on each floor and a ghost gets on. First, his surrogate brother; next, his best friend from childhood. An uncle. His father. And finally, Shawn. Each ghost tells a story and wonders why Will is seeking vengeance. Told in spare prose poetry, this stunning novel describes the unflinching violence that still inhabits parts of our cities and forces recognition of the unbearable grief these communities must bear. An important conversation starter for all to read, from grades 7 to adult.— Cathy
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature
Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds's fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds--the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he's going to murder the guy who killed his brother. A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
for RULE Or, you can call it a gun. That's what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That's where Will's now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother's gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he's after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that's when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn's gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn't know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck's in the elevator? Just as Will's trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck's cigarette. Will doesn't know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES. And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END...if WILL gets off that elevator. Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.