Long Way Down


‘Gunshots make everybody/ deaf and blind/ especially/ when they make somebody/ dead’

Will is playing basketball when his brother Shawn is shot. ‘If the blood/ inside of you is on the inside/ of someone else,// you never want to/ see it on the outside of/ them.’

Will knows the Rules- No.1 Crying- ‘Don’t./ No matter what./ Don’t’, No. 2 Snitching- ‘Don’t./ No matter what./ Don’t. ‘ and No. 3- Revenge…

Will takes the ‘Long Way Down’ from his apartment to take on the Rules. Shawn’s pistol is wedged into his clothing and the elevator ride begins. When the bell pings on the floor down, Will is surprised by the new passenger. Who steps in? We travel as Will contemplates his journey, both this one, and those taken by Shawn and others, just like him, obeying the rules.

‘Long Way Down’ is one of the finest pieces of writing I have read. It is raw, emotional, aching and real. It will break your heart. Jason Reynolds poetic narrative draws you into the elevator with Will. What will he do?

‘Long Way Down‘ is suitable, and recommended, for older readers, only.


Long Way Down

Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Chris Priestley

(Faber & Faber)

There are rules. You don’t squeal, you take revenge. Will knows the code. He’s on the ‘Long Way Down‘ to take revenge for the killing of his brother, Shawn. Who will join him in the elevator as it descends? This book is suitable for older readers only.

Newbery Honor title, Coretta Scott King Honor title, Printz Honor title; Walter Dean Myers Award; Edgar Award for Young Adult Fiction; National Book Awards of America long list nomination; Carnegie Medal short list 2019, UKLA winner (12- 16)



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