I read an excerpt from The Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. It was available to read for free on the Riveted until December fourth. The book is on my to buy list and I want it even more now.
Title: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Source: Riveted website for young adult reading
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Book Depository
Summary on Goodreads:
A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
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.
When I found out this book was written in verse and used a short moment in time to make a whole book, I was sold. I am a huge fan of books written in different ways from the norm. This book does that in spades. Using a short span of time to write a whole book is hard. You have to make each moment riveting enough to keep the reader engaged. Jason accomplishes this and he's definitely an author to watch. From showing how eczema affects a mother of two and that a moment as innocent as buying a bar of special soap can have long-reaching consequences. To a drawer that holds socks in contrast to the one holding an older brother's gun. Nothing in this book is without a purpose and you need to keep up with each versed scene to see everything fall into place.
I also lost a relative to gun violence. Ironic enough he had the same name as my brother, Andre. It was years ago over the Christmas holidays and I can tell you it is painful. But I would never want to be in the shoes of this book's main character. Will is a younger brother who witnessed the murder of his brother in a community where gun violence is not a rare occurrence. I never grew up in a place like that. Where rules to deal with such things included staying silent and planning revenge. A line from the book says it all.
Another Thing About the Rules
They weren't meant to be broken.
They were meant for the broken to follow.
Now that really gave me an inside look for those who think picking up a gun is the only solution. I will never agree with that but I'm not above knowing I could have a breaking point as well. This line just gave me more insight into those who see it as an only resort. A sad and dark insight but honest.
I highly recommend this book without question.
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