Title: Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds
Pages: 336 Pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber
AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTS
Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by
the buzz of a bullet,
didn’t meet us.
After Will’s brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn’s gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will’s friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he’s doing.
This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.
I genuinely believe that YA fiction is opening up conversations about difficult topics to an age group who are on the cusp of forming their own opinions about society. When I was younger, the YA fiction was soft; it skirted around issues and acted like teenagers were too delicate or were unable to discuss difficult topics. Not anymore; the world of literature is a better place for it.
Jason Reynolds discusses knife crime in the book Long Way Down. It is the story of Will who has just seen his brother shot and killed due to gang crime. It is time for him to take his brother’s place on the street. He knows it. He also knows who has killed his brother and he is out for vengeance.
Told entirely in verse, we track Will as he goes to avenge his brother’s murder. We watch as people try to talk him out of his actions. We watch as those people – who are not who you would expect – reveal how gun and gang crime have impacted their own lives.
Long Way Down is hard hitting but it needs to be. It doesn’t paint a happy picture; it is gritty and it is realistic. Long Way Down is, for want of a better word, brilliant.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is available now.
For more information regarding Jason Reynolds (@JasonRenolds83) please visit www.jasonwritesbooks.com.
For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.