Wednesday, February 24, 2021

BOOK REVIEW | LONG WAY DOWN BY JASON REYNOLDS (SPOILER FREE)

Title: Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds
Pages: 322
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Published date: 24 October 2017



An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is 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.
A hammer
A tool
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. (Source: Goodreads)



I read this book because it was recommended by JesseTheReader, one of my go-to booktubers! I read this last year in one day because it was told in verse. 

What I found unique about this book, the whole book was played out in 60 seconds. I have read books where the events took place in one day, but one minute? Damn.

This can either be interesting because it's short and concise, or it can fail miserably for lacking the time to properly develop and grip readers' attention. In this case, I think it lies on the border of the two. 

This book is about Will, who wants to avenge his brother's killer even though he is not 100% certain who the killer is. On the way to have his revenge, he is stopped by 'ghosts' of the people he knew from the past, questioning his decision to kill.

But if blood inside you is on the inside of someone else, you never want to see it outside of them.

I don't think this book is bad, it's just that I was anticipating for something more because of its hype. I admit the storyline is interesting as I love reading books about Black lives. 

However, the characters did not feel real enough to me. It wasn't like they felt one-dimensional, it was just that I couldn't resonate with them. 

Other than that, it was an important story to read about. The ending left me confusing because the author let the readers decide the ending ourselves. I don't particularly hate open ending, but it left me feeling even more dissatisfied with this book. 

People always love people more when they're dead.

Overall, I would still recommend this book to people to get a better insight on what it's like to be in Will's shoes. Just don't put your hopes too high.

Rate: ★★★☆☆

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