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Long Way Down | Jason Reynolds | Review

Long way down

Set just a couple of days after his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, Long Way Down tells the story of fifteen-year-old Will as he steps onto an elevator with Shawn’s gun tucked into his waistband, planning to kill the boy responsible for his death. As Will travels from the 7th floor down, he is confronted by the ghosts of people connected to him and his family, each one helping him to work through his feelings and reflect on what he plans to do next.

This book had been on my TBR for quite a while, having heard amazing things about Jason Reynolds’ writing, this award winning book in particular. Written in verse and told mostly over a 60-second elevator ride, the book explores Will’s thoughts and emotions in a unique way and shows just how much can happen in such a short space of time.

I was so captivated by Will’s story that I read the book in one sitting, and then re-read it in one sitting again the following month. Whilst only a short read, Long Way Down is a beautifully written, intense and powerful book that I would highly recommend to everyone. It has a very raw quality to it and you can feel the mixed emotions of Will shine through in Reynolds’ writing as the character struggles with his decision to avenge Shawn’s death.

The fact that the book is written in verse and also cleverly structured using the different floors of the elevator ride to introduce different characters worked brilliantly. Black and white illustrations by Christ Priestley were also a fantastic addition and really contributed to the haunting feel of the story. I’ve found a 5-star read in Long Way Down and can’t wait to read more of Jason Reynolds’ work.

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