Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds.  New York: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2017. 320p.  ISBN 978-1481438254 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12  YA FIC
This impactful story is written in verse to make it truly accessible to avid readers and occasional readers, alike.  The message is that important.  Readers are introduced to fifteen-year-old Will whose older brother has just been shot in the street.  Will doesn’t run with a gang, has never held a gun, but knows the rules….“No crying.  No snitching.  Revenge.”  Almost instinctively, he searches his dead brother’s room for the gun he knows is there and heads for the elevator to do what he feels he must do next.  In his haste to descend from his seventh floor apartment, Will’s elevator slowly stops at each floor to let on a new passenger.  Each new passenger on the elevator is a person from Will’s past.  Each one is a victim of gun violence.  They all have stories that clarify and tie into Will’s life story, letting him see the larger picture of choices, actions and consequences.  The simple technology of the elevator provides the perfect vehicle for this open-ended story of redemption or revenge.  Will must make that choice.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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