Faber & Faber
fp October 2017 by Atheneum Books
Long Way Down
illustrated by Chris Priestley
from Faber & Faber...
After Will's brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don't cry. Don't snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn's gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will's friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he's doing.
This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.
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William Holloman is a 15-year-old African-American teen who lives with his mother and older brother Shawn. When Shawn is shot in the streets, William knows what to do, what rules to follow: Donít cry. Donít snitch. Get revenge. So he finds his brotherís gun and heads out, despite never having handled a gun before. He heads into the elevator down to the bottom floor. At each floor he is confronted by a ghost from his pastÖBuck the guy who gave his brother the gun, Dani a girl from his childhood, his uncle, his father, the guy who killed Buck, and Shawn. Each a victim of gun violence. With each arrival we (and Shawn) learn much of his troubled childhood. But what will happen when he reaches the ground floor?
This powerful novel in verse takes place in the time it takes to go in a lift from the seventh floor to the ground floor. Jason Reynolds creates a vivid portrait of Will and his life, told expertly in verse. The accompanying illustrations by Chris Priestly are a great touch. This is a book which will have the reader very much engaged with the protagonist and one which is hard to put down. It certainly lingered in my mind well after I had finished it. Highly recommended.