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Review: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Title: Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds
Year Published: 2017

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 306 (in verse)
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Sixty seconds. 7 floors. Three rules. One gun. Will's older brother, Shawn, has been shot. Dead. Will feels a sadness so great, he can't explain it. But in his neighborhood there are THE RULES:
No. 1: Crying. Don't. No matter what.
No. 2: Snitching. Don't. No matter what.
No. 3: Revenge. Do. No matter what.

But bullets miss. You can get the wrong guy. And there's always someone else who knows to follow the rules.

Review: Another Jason Reynolds right after reading Ghost! This story is so different from Ghost, but equally powerful. And, because it's in verse it is a quick read. Jason Reynolds is fast becoming one of the authors I most admire; I hope his books are making a difference in the lives of his readers. This one easily could do that.

This is one of those books where I can't say anything about the plot beyond the summary above because that would ruin the reading experience for others. I can say that it is intense, doesn't go where I thought it would, and makes a great point about the cycle of violence. The "Rules" lead to death and heartache without any resolution.

I wasn't sure how an elevator ride of seven floors could possibly work in a book; it's got to be the shortest time span of any book I've read. But it works very well and is very effective as each floor brings Will a step closer to killing his brother's murderer. I highly recommend this book for high school students and adults.

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