C.G. Drews's Reviews > Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason  Reynolds
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2018, ya-male-narrators, young-adult, ya-without-romance

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 with all these ghosts who've been shot throughout Will's life.

Things to note:
A) there are so so many ghosts in Will's life and this makes me so sad I just
B) I just got really choked up when this girl steps into the elevator and Will remembers her from his childhood...they were two kids (8 I think??) playing at a playground and she literally got shot and died while his big brother tried to cover them with himself
C) I didn't think the book was preachy, but these ghosts were definitely sending Will the message that keeping the cycle of revenge-killing STOPS NOTHING and helps no one
D) I think it also really explained some of the reasoning behind why there's so much gang violence and shooting. This one focused on a black community, obviously, but there's so so many people who are just hurt and absolutely destroyed because someone they love was killed and the cycle goes on and on and on.

DO YOU WANT A TISSUE? I THINK WE ALL WANT TISSUES THIS WAS SO SAD AND I THINK SENT A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE. Also the author's bio at the end was basically saying he's tired of kids feeling invisible and unseen and their pains ignored, but every time someone reads his books and feels SEEN and heard...then he becomes a little less tired. And this is so good. And I'm so glad there are authors like this here.

I do have to admit though, some things kind of landed me in a bucket. Like I didn't understand the ending, AND the book is so shot. It's in verse, but it's like...wow a 30min read?! And all I kept thinking is "this elevator is taking like one heck of a long time to get to the bottom and I would've just taken the stairs after the ghosts started getting in". But ahem. Shsuhshssh cait that's not the point.

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Reading Progress

September 29, 2017 – Shelved
September 29, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 11, 2018 – Started Reading
February 13, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
February 13, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
February 13, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
February 13, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-without-romance
February 13, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 14, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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Eloise I think it's meant to be a little open to imagination. I'm not quite sure exactly what went on either, but I know I felt soooo many emotions! Haha

elisabeth The ending was confusing to me too.

C.G. Drews @Eloise: I figured right?! But then (view spoiler)

@Kathleen: Saaaame, but overall the book was so incredible!

PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps I took the ending to mean are you going to continue the retaliation and become another statistic or learn from our legacy of vengeance leading to our deaths.

Kelly What Amy said. 👆🏼

C.G. Drews @Amy: Yes! I did get that's what it was saying, but I didn't get if the ghosts (view spoiler)

Jessica (novelcravings) so interesting to read everyone's take on the end. I took it to mean are you coming with us, because you'll be dead too if you go through with it. If he didn't, then he was choosing life.

C.G. Drews @Jessica: OHHHHHH THAT FINALLY MAKES SENSE YES. (view spoiler)

PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps See now I thought the ghosts were saying “are you coming” (getting off the elevator to complete your revenge, which means he’d be soon joining them) or “are you going to forget about revenge, go back up that elevator back to your apartment and live your life.” I didn’t see the ghosts as guiding him one way or the other, just laying out the facts for him to decide, because some of the ghosts still believed they did the right thing and fulfilled their destiny and others didn’t want to see him go down the path that had led to their deaths.

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Amy: That makes sense. Like I felt it was a challenge, but maybe it was just a fact when they said "are you coming"?

PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps Yes, it felt like a challenge to me too, although a challenge that may have had a different agenda for each of the ghosts.

Breon Randon I felt the the verse titles on top of each page were leading the reader along as well- Will's final ""I want out!" was hinting that he wanted out of the cycle and to be free of the rules, etc.

message 13: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob Rester I took the ending as he had already gone through with the revenge, someone else then killed him out of revenge and he had been dead the entire time. But now I think Amy is more accurate.

Nicole Matenaer Blazier I think the ending is meant to be ambiguous.

Vivian That ending was very confusing, because first I took it as maybe in taking revenge, Will was also killed in retaliation and was in his final ride down. But I can also see where it could be the ghosts in his life, asking if he wants to end up like them because of this endless cycle of killing.

message 16: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn Wynn Definitely open to some interpretation (the ending). I wonder if Will had already tried to take his revenge for his brother’s death, missed his shot, and got killed himself. It would explain why he could see the hosts, and why his brother just stared at him and cried. He just doesn’t know he’s dead yet. It might also explain his brother turning to him and saying, “You comin’?”

message 17: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn Wynn **GHOSTS

Nailah Since the book was showing the cycle of gun violence, I interpreted the end as Shawn essentially asking Will if he was ready to end up like them: dead.

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