Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 9 - 12Grade 5n/a4.312541
“An intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Astonishing.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A tour de force.” —Publishers weekly (starred review)

A Newbery Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
A Printz Honor Book
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award
Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner
An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2017
A Vulture Best YA Book of 2017
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017

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 the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?

Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop 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.

Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published on October 23, 2018 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
ISBN-10: 1481438263
ISBN-13: 9781481438261
8 Book Reviews
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  • willow123goma
    willow123gomaThursday, May 28, 2020 at 11:21 am33 stars
    This was an very thrilling book. It helped me understand that forgiveness was more important than revenge, and that you should never kill or hurt someone over your feelings.It is OK to have strong feelings, but you must be wise and think through it instead of running on anger.
    • nicegirl1933
      nicegirl1933Sunday, August 4, 2019 at 6:58 pm
      i want to read but i can not:(
      • classroomsinmotion
        classroomsinmotionSunday, August 4, 2019 at 8:42 am
        Awesome literary elements using poetry to tell a story about choice, culture and expectations.
        • ryderTuesday, October 9, 2018 at 9:46 am
          good book 10/10
          • sb086955
            sb086955Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 9:53 pm55 stars
            An amazing book full of suspense with an impactful storyline.
            • Syd B.Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 9:38 pm
              This book is so amazing, suspenseful and impactful.
              • Sydnie ShortTuesday, August 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm
                The book keeps you in suspense and you can't predict who's coming in next
                • 123nivk
                  123nivkWednesday, December 20, 2017 at 6:51 am55 stars
                  It is really a good book if you like to read. And if you like the Yankees.