Review: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Title: Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: Poetry, Contemporary
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Date published: October 24th 2017
Format: Audiobook
Page Count: 1 hour 46 minutes

Rating: 3.5/5

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.


I really loved the concept and the idea of the story. The whole story takes place in a minute as Will takes the elevator down, determined to kill his brother’s killer. But as the elevator stops on each floor, he meets someone of his past; someone who forces him to reconsider his decision. Each floor is a chance for him to take back the decision.

The story is written in verse and the audiobook was narrated by the author, so all the accents and emphasis felt perfectly timed. It was an interesting choice of choosing poetry to tell the story, but I think it was quite fitting given that the entire story takes place in one minute.

The story was quite sentimental and impactful. Long Way Down was written to convey Reynold’s message about gun violence and as a tribute to his own past.


I recommend the audiobook of Long Way Down. Jason Reynolds does an amazing job at spoken verse. The emotion is his voice that you almost imagine that he is Will. It only takes an hour or so to listen.

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