Captivating, emotional ... read for yourself.


Just last night Will Holloman (15) and his friend Tony were wondering when they'll start to get taller. Last night, Will's brother Shawn (18) was killed in a shootout. Today, Will is shaken, but not surprised. This is the stuff that happens in his neighborhood.

In the room that he shared with his brother, Will finds Shawn's gun. He also thinks about the "Rules" Shawn taught him about losing someone close to you in a shootout. Number 1, don't cry. [Too late] Number 2, don’t snitch. Number 3, always get revenge. Will sneaks out of the apartment with his newly acquired gun, set on Rule #3: revenge. On the elevator, he hits "L," which he and Shawn joked about as standing for "loser." Now, Will was on his way to loser status. On each floor, the ghost of a family member killed by gun violence joins him on the elevator. As he continues his descent, Will is less and less sure of what to do. What will he decide?

BTSYA / Teen Reader (12):
Long Way Down is an emotional roller coaster ride. I could not put this book down, even for a second. The author wrote about a very important social issue: gun violence. It also sheds light on many key topics, like family and revenge, and is written in a poignant manner.

Through verses of poetry, it depicts a world that many of us are lucky not to be in. His writing is captivating, and I felt like I was there listening to the conversations in the elevator.

I would recommend this book for pre-teens, and teens. There are some ideas that younger kids cannot understand. But, if you like realistic fiction and poetry, you would love this book.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

If you are looking for a book that will swallow you and your emotions whole, this is it. Compelling story and you will not be able to put it down.

Content Awareness Factors:

The book contains mild profanity and violence.

Type of Book:
This is a verse novel about a teen whose brother was killed by gun violence. Initially set on revenge, other information comes to him that makes him think harder about his choices.
Educational Themes:

This very realistic story offers readers a lot to explore, both at a personal level, as well as in the way it looks at society. Let your teen take the lead on where they want the conversation to go: family, loyalty, personal ethics, social influences, prejudices, stereotypes, etc.

So what will Will decide? Ask your reader at the end of each chapter. 

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer’s Age: 12
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a book you'll re-read and also share. It's that powerful.

Title Long Way Down
Author Jason Reynolds
Publisher Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Imprint Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing © 2017
ISBN 9781481438254
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Adventure, Poetry, Mystery, Life Lessons, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Social Issues
be the star you are Cybils
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