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Long Way Down

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  79,067 ratings  ·  13,550 reviews
An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a g
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  79,067 ratings  ·  13,550 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
wow wow wow wow i loved this so much. i've read several books written in verse now and this one was superior to all the ones i've read before. the characters were fleshed out so well and the story itself was engaging and rather suspenseful. i highly recommend this if you're looking to try a book written in this style. ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me on Page 1: Oh great, another novel in verse.

Me on Page, like, 5: HOLY SHIT.

Then I read the whole thing in one sitting.

Incredibly powerful, beautifully written. Reynolds doesn't use the device of verse as a crutch; he wields it like a weapon. I think I held my breath for the entire book, and the ending left me gasping. Truly unforgettable.
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
If you're in a slump and you want a quick interesting read, I would totally recommend this book!

It's all about the cycle of violence and written in verse. Really liked it!
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

A haunting cautionary tale delivered in verse, in which fifteen-year-old Will is forced to consider the potential consequences of his actions as he, armed with a gun and seeking revenge, waits for the elevator in his building to reach the ground floor.


that says DO NOT CROSS
gets put up, and there's nothing
left to do but go home.

That tape lets people know
that this is a murder scene,
Jillian Heise
240 pages
67 seconds
7 floors
6 visitors
Each with a piece
of the story
not known
until now.
Will grieving
his brother
with a
and a
thinking he knows
what he has to do
The Rules
to do
to be
and what
comes next.

Jason Reynolds is masterful in the way he can use such sparse language in these free verse poems for such a powerful and emotional impact. I'm going to be talking about and sharing this book for a very long time.

Jason's skill at putting words together that grab your h
You know when you haven’t fully grasped the story they way you would have wanted to because you’re reading too fast and you just know that there are underlying gems that you are missing out on, but you can’t stop reading? This was that.

I’m pretty sure there was so much more I could’ve extracted had I slowed down. But I couldn’t.

This book caters perfectly for younger readers. For readers who perhaps don’t find reading that fascinating or find it difficult discover books that reflect their surro
Elle (ellexamines)
Uncle Mark should’ve just bought his camera and shot his stupid movie after the first day. Unfortunately, he never shot anything ever again.

But my father did.

This was incredible. Not only is it so emotional and well-developed, but oh my god, the writing is so good.

Ellen Hopkins’ use of verse and poetry is dead and Jason Reynolds killed it, personally, by himself. The double meanings alone are perfect. Jason Reynolds has a way with double meanings. Look at the top quote. A camera shoots. A m
C.G. Drews
This was so so emotional and brutal and just wow. I'm kind of torn with what to think though because I didn't really understand the ending?! I read it twice and I'm still not entirely sure what happened. MAYBE THIS IS JUST ME!??

Anyway! It's a book about violence and murder and it's so freaking sad. Basically Will's brother Shawn was just shot and killed and Will gets his gun and goes out for revenge. But he gets in the elevator to go downstairs and shoot this guy...and the elevator just fills wi
Laurie Anderson
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, racial-justice
Absolutely genius writing & storytelling, plus so much heart it will drive you to your knees.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
They weren't meant to be broken.
They were meant for the broken to follow.”

I’ve always loved stories written in verse, so when I heard about this own-voice tale of the struggles that toxic masculinity and systemic racism place upon young black men, I was immediately interested. I wanted to focus on supporting as many new-to-me black authors as possible in February, and Jason Reynolds was at the very top of my list. This man has a writing voice that absolutely ne
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Such a fast and powerful read. Wow.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

In case you haven’t heard, jasonwritesbooks(.com). More specifically, jasonwritesIMPORTANTbooks. Books that are RELEVANT and NOW and REAL and HEARTBREAKING. Books that make my non-book-lovin’ kid not fight me when it comes to reading. Books that give a voice to a population who so often is rendered voiceless. Books that when I muttered to myself on Sunday morning “what should I read next?” had said non-book-lovin’ kid running to his ba
♛ may
this was incredible.

the writing. the composition. the way jason reynolds narrated it. the emotion. the power. i am floored (lol)

seriously the concept of the plot is so fascinating and unique. i love the family history, the stories told in such a short time, the depth of pain and emotion that is only glimpsed for a few seconds bc you can't show emotion when you gotta follow the rules

how jason reynolds told the stories of so many lives in 1 minute (or 1 hour and 43 minutes, depending on how you l
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
That was incredibly powerful. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Rachel Reads Ravenously
5 stars


it feels like God be flashing photos of his children, awkward, amazing, tucked in his wallet for the world to see. But the world don't wanna see no kids, and God ain't no pushy parent so he just folds and snaps us shut.”

Heartbreaking. In the best possible way, this book was utterly heartbreaking.

When Wil's brother is killed in a gang related shooting, he does the only thing he knows how to do: follow the neighborhood rules. So he gets a gun and decides to kill the
Lauren Lanz
I’m beginning to think I’m bound to love stories told in verse. Long Way Down was masterfully written, with an ending that left me breathless.

“People always love people more when they're dead.”

This book follows fifteen year old William, a boy who’s just witnessed his older brother’s murder. The tragic event has left him hurt and confused, with the addition of a broken mother to account for.
All his life, William has been taught the ‘rules’ for situations like these:

1. No crying
2. No snitchin
Whitney Atkinson
I downloaded this intending on possibly getting to it sometime, but I opened it up out of curiosity and ended up reading the entire thing in about an hour.

I don't have too much to say other than I think this is a really effective coming of age story about how violence and toxic masculinity affects so many young black teens. Reynolds writes really honestly and the directness of this is such a well-needed nudge in the side.

My only issue is that I struggled with the plot of this book a bit becaus
Elyse  Walters
Library overdrive…Audiobook….read by Jason Reynolds
….1 hour and 43 minutes

Whatever you think this book is….
it’s not that!!!

I’ve seen this book around for a few years….
I had always planned on reading it.
After seeing Faith’s review on Goodreads recently — I downloaded the audiobook…..
and wow, nothing I read had prepared me….
It’s artistically written in verse…
MUST BE EXPERIENCE to get the full essence of ‘it’s power’…
of ‘it’s importance’…
of its brutal beauty.

….death, blood
Lilith Black Bee
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I found the concept of this book very interesting, maybe the first of this kind for me. I'll admit it, at the beginning I was a little confused about the way this book was written. It was not about the fact that it was written in verses. I will just tell you that you will most surely understand when you will read it if you didn't already because I don't want to give any kind of spoilers. The pleasure of discovering it all by yourself is one of the best, for us, the readers.

The subject was about

Kayla Dawn
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I wish this was written in a traditional format, I just don't seem to click with a story as much whenever it's written in verse.

It was still a beautiful read and I definitely appreciate the message of it.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
They weren't meant to be broken.
They were meant for the broken
to follow.”
― Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down


Long Way Down is a novel written in verse that tells the story of fifteen-year-old Will who seeks to venge his murdered brother Shawn. But as he takes the elevator down, with a gun tucked in his pants, it stops on each floor and a ghost from Will's past enters, all victims of gun violence, but will that be enough to change his mind ?
This was a powerful and uniqu
4 stars
“Are you coming?”

Short, heart wrenching, and powerful. I’ll definitely be reading more from Reynolds. This is written in verse and narrated by the author. It’s real, raw, and heartbreaking. I highly recommend.
It's time for my BEST BOOKS OF 2020 LIST


I decided to pick up the audiobook since it was immediately available for download, not realizing that it was quite the quick “read”. All in all the audiobook is only 1 hour, 43 minutes long, but the reason why I’m recommendation to listen to the audiobook AND read the book at the same time is that the book is narrated by the author AND it’s written in free verse.

Seeing the words written in verse, and also hearing the aut
Long Way Down is the story of 15 year old Will, whose older brother was just killed. Will must decide if he’ll follow neighborhood code to keep quiet and seek revenge on Shawn’s murderer, or if he’ll make another decision. He gets Shawn’s gun and begins the elevator ride from his apartment down to the ground floor. Along the way, ghosts of Will’s past (family, friends, and acquaintances) hop on board to share their stories and question his motives.

This was a short read, written in verse. While
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive, audio
Three rules: no crying, no snitching and always get revenge. Shawn has been shot and killed. Will has Shawn's gun under his second hand shirt as he rides down in the elevator on his way to kill the boy who shot his brother. On each floor, a ghost from Will's past enters the elevator bringing back memories good and bad. Will he get revenge when he reaches the lobby? This was very original, perceptive and moving. Written in verse, the audiobook was perfectly narrated by the author. ...more
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Really powerful and unputdownable.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely powerful and important. I absolutely loved the poetry.
Mariah Roze
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because it was suggested to me as a YA diversity book. I really enjoyed it. This book is written in a poetic form and is easy to follow.

The main character is fifteen-year-old Will and he witnesses his brother Shawn get shot and killed. This makes Will mad and he wants revenge so gets a gun and rides an elevator up to the seventh floor to kill his brother's murder.

As the elevator travels upward it keeps stopping and new "ghosts" (people from his life that have passed away) get
joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
*incoherent screeching here*

Is this one of the first verse books I've read? Yep. And damnit to hell because Long Way Down just set the bar pretty high for other poetry books.

Speaking to the verse (and I don't know if all poetry is like this so I could be grossly misguided on this front), what I appreciated the most was how it read like a fully formed story stripped of frivolity where only the bare-bones -- the meat and potatoes -- of the story remained. It's almost wizardry how so much power ca
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
I listened to this in one sitting and am in awe of Jason's narration and the life he breathes into this story simply by the way he speaks.

This novel takes place over the course of one minute, in an elevator, as Will faces those whom he's lost due to gun violence as he's contemplating taking revenge on someone who recently murdered his brother. The way this story is structured and told is absolutely magnificent in the way it builds tension, leaves you on the edge of your seat, wondering what's g
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After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, Jason Reynolds moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it al ...more

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They weren't meant to be broken.
They were meant for the broken

to follow.”
“but if blood inside you is on the inside of someone else,

you never want to see it on the outside of them”
More quotes…