Back to All Lists...



Children's Chapter Books

Long Way Down - by Jason Reynolds
An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and†New York Times†bestseller Jason Reynoldsís fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent secondsóthe time it takes a kid to decide whether or not heís 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. Thatís 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. Thatís where Willís now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brotherís gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who heís 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 thatís when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawnís gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didnít know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buckís in the elevator? Just as Willís trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buckís cigarette. Will doesnít 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 ENDÖif 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.