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Long Way Down (2017)

de Jason Reynolds

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2,3901426,445 (4.34)61
As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.
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This is a haunting story regarding gun violence and how it continues from one member of a family to another.
When Will watches his older brother, Shawn, get shot and dies as a result, Will becomes obsessed to avenge Shawn's death.
When he finds Shawn's gun in his dresser drawer, he has a decision to make. Packing the pistol, he continues to feel an emptiness he never felt before.

Remembering the rules of the neighborhood regarding shootings,

1) NO CRYING
2) NO SNITCHING
3) REVENGE

Will enters an elevator that contains seven people he knew who were killed by gun violence. Written in a sparse poetic form, both violence and the repercussions are vividly told.

Can Will avenge Shawn's killer after his interactions with those in the elevator after they tell their story? ( )
  Whisper1 | Mar 18, 2024 |
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?

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.
  unsoluble | Mar 12, 2024 |
Representation: Black characters
Trigger warnings: Death of a father and uncle in the past and a brother, blood, grief and loss depiction, gun violence
Score: Six points out of ten.
Find this review on The StoryGraph.

Well. I finally read the original version of Long Way Down. I read an adaptation before this one and enjoyed it so I hoped this edition lives up to the hype. I glanced the blurb, which made me think it would be a heavy yet intriguing read, all in poetry to boot. Unfortunately, when I closed the final page of Long Way Down, it underwhelmed me.

The plot is similar to the other adaptation, but here's a quick recap: Will sees his brother, Shawn, die from a gunshot, so he consults the three rules on what to do next. Don't cry. Don't snitch. Get revenge. He enters an elevator and everything looks typical except that Will can see ghosts of people who died in the past. They were victims of the rules and the cycle of gun violence and when the elevator reaches the ground floor, the ending is open. It's not clear if Will will follow the third rule. The concept is outstanding, but the execution--not so much. The art in the other version added impact and even though I liked some pages of Long Way Down, most of them were monotonous and felt like what happened when someone pressed the Enter key many times. I liked the message in Long Way Down, which is that gun violence kills many but the delivery is only okay, but I appreciate that it isn't too preachy. I wonder what the author's other fictional compositions are like.

To summarise, Long Way Down initially seemed like a promising narrative about gun violence in verse, but in the end, it dissatisfied me, making me feel like this novel isn't the best example of poetry ever. Maybe if it was written in prose it would've been better. ( )
  Law_Books600 | Mar 4, 2024 |
This. Was. Good.
That is all. ( )
  Dances_with_Words | Jan 6, 2024 |
People are all jacked up about the supposedly ambiguous ending to this book. It's not ambiguous. Go back and read the first two pages. ( )
  meallenreads | Oct 24, 2023 |
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For all the young brothers and sisters in detention centers around the country, the ones I’ve seen, and the ones I haven’t. You are loved.
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DON’T NOBODY
believe nothing
these days
which is why I haven’t
told nobody the story
I’m about to tell you.
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As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.

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