destiny ♎ [howling libraries]'s Reviews > Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
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really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, owned-physical, contemporary, tough-topics

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 needs to be heard.

“But if the blood inside you is on the inside of someone else,
you never want to see it on the outside of them.”

Will’s words are so haunting and broken; he’s lost his big brother, his hero, and now all he wants is to follow the rules – the rules that he’s been taught his whole life. The rules that say the only fair response to the wrongful death of a loved one… is revenge. Will knows his mission is probably going to leave him in the same state as his brother, but it’s all he’s equipped to do. It’s such a powerful metaphor for toxic masculinity and the ways in which it prevents boys and men from knowing how to cope with trauma in meaningful, productive ways – not through their own faults, but because they’re never been shown a better way.

“Just remember, when
you're walking in the nighttime,
make sure the nighttime
ain't walking into you.”

My only complaint about this incredible little book, and the reason that I only gave it 4 stars, is that it was so short that it was incredibly difficult to connect to the story or characters. While the events were hard to stomach, things moved so quickly and with so little development or preamble that, by the time I felt attached to Will or his pain, I was turning the last few pages. I would’ve loved to have seen this story fleshed out a bit more; most of the pages have only 10-20 words printed on them, and I just think that, had this been written like most verse novels, where there was a solid paragraph or two per page, it would’ve carried the impact across so much better and would have meant that much more. That said, I still absolutely loved this book and cannot wait to see what Jason Reynolds releases next.

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
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Reading Progress

August 13, 2017 – Shelved
August 13, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 26, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 2, 2018 – Started Reading
February 2, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 8, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-physical
November 11, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
November 11, 2018 – Shelved as: tough-topics

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