My rating: 5 of 5 stars
You see Will, but do you know him? He’s the young man whose brother was shot and killed. He’s got a story to tell, and you might just get to know him if you would only listen. Were you to live in his neighborhood, you would know that there are 3 rules that apply in this situation: 1) NO CRYING, 2) NO SNITCHING, and 3) GET REVENGE. Will is hell-bent on avenging his brother’s death and doing what’s necessary to adhere to the code. He secures a gun, heads out of his apartment to the elevator and comes face-to-face with his fears when voices from beyond the grave cause him to contemplate his decision. “SIXTY SECONDS. SEVEN FLOORS. THREE RULES. ONE GUN” (Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down).
While he is unclear as to who invented these neighborhood rules, Will concedes that “They weren’t meant to be broken. They were meant for the broken to follow.” To what end? How then do we break the cycle of gun violence? How do we mend the broken hearts, the shattered lives, the regret? Caught up in this system, designed for destruction, where then can redemption be found? Listen closely and you will hear our children begging and crying for change. Who is Will really? He is my cousin. He is my friend. He is my son. He is the seen yet unseen. He is misunderstood.
Jason Reynolds is a phenomenal storyteller. He gives voice to the voiceless. Not that they don’t have anything to say, we’re just not always very good listeners. Long Way Down will pull you in quickly, devouring page after page. It is brilliant, creative, and necessary and is simply one of the best books I’ve read in 2017!
~ Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down