There’s a code that you live by on the streets, a code with three simple rules. One, no matter what, there is no crying. Two, no matter what, there is no snitching. And three, no matter what, always get revenge. Will’s family has lived by these guidelines for years, and he’s not going to be the first one to ignore them when his older brother, Shawn, is shot on the streets. But the elevator ride down is a long one, and a lot can change in those seven floors...
Jason Reynolds is a master at combining storytelling with reality, and Long Way Down is no exception. For those who have not yet read any of Reynolds’s works, Long Way Down sees Reynolds going back to his roots and literary love as it is written entirely in poetic verse. Throughout the text, Reynolds plays with words and their formations as he delves into the lives of those who live by the rules of the streets and what it means to break long-standing cycles.
As someone who grew up in an area very similar to the one Reynolds describes, I cannot help but see the truth in what he writes and feel the pain and indecision of the characters he brings to life on the page. The verse can be little difficult to read for the first time, but the style cuts to the chase and makes the words written mean that much more. It is important to note that the book does contain some violent themes and language, but the book is still appropriate for readers in 12 and older. I highly recommend this for everyone, and I especially recommend that it be incorporated into school curriculum at the secondary and university level.