Faber & Faber

September 2018


336p pb

ISBN: 978-0571335128

fp November 2017    (US edition)

from Faber & Faber...

hid, tucked
themselves tight.

Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by 
the buzz of a bullet,
didn't meet us.

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.

If you have read this novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review/comments to YARR-A

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.

Stephen, Canberra

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