Long Way Down

Long Way Down

Book - 2017
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As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781481438254
Characteristics: 306 pages ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

The ghosts of gun violence visit a young teen - all during a single elevator ride.

From the critics

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Sep 08, 2020

To be honest I was really on the fence about this book. I kind of liked it and at the same time I felt like this story was completely unfinished. If you are the type of person that at the end of a book you like things to be wrapped up, nice and neat and you like when all your questions are answered, THEN THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU! This book had the biggest cliff hanger ending. I believe the author Jason Reynolds wanted readers to come to their own conclusion about how the story would end. I personally hated this! I need all my questions answered or it will literally keep me up at night. In this novel a boy named Will is riding on an elevator, getting ready to shoot the man he thinks is responsible for this brothers death. As he rides the elevator down to where he knows the man is hiding the elevator stops on each floor and a different ghost gets on the elevator. Each ghost is somehow related to Will the main character's past. The ghosts tell Will how they were also gun shot victims the story of their own deaths. I found this book to be really repetitive, which I guess was the point... but I just found it to be boring and predictable. This book is written in short verse, so it was a relatively quick read, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. Like I said I like things to have somewhat of an ending and this book ended very much up in the air and as a reader you will receive no answers. I loved the writing style immensely, but I just didn't love the repetitive plot or the ending.

Aug 26, 2020

Modern Mrs Darcy

Aug 25, 2020

Middle school/teen book

Aug 03, 2020

Love the counting down as the elevator lowers for each chapter. Don't let the poetry intimidate you. Read it anyway. Powerful ending. This would make a great "add another chapter for the end" writing activity, as it could go so many ways.

Jul 26, 2020

Jason Reynolds nails it. Know someone who thinks reading is boring? This book isn’t. Know someone who thinks poems are for old people? Not this one. Know someone who thinks grownups don’t know anything about the real world? Not this grown-up. Jason Reynolds’ writing changes opinions, minds...and hearts. Spread the word.

JCLHebahA Jun 11, 2020

After hearing Jason Reynolds speak at a virtual librarian event, I had to check out his writing. This was raw, powerful, and empathetic, the immediacy of verse pairing well with the tight quarters of a potentially life-altering elevator ride. Phenomenal in audio (read by the author himself) and followed up with an equally powerful interview.

Apr 01, 2020

I never cried over books. Once I read it it's over. It doesn't stay long in my heart in mind. But this time it was different. The story made me curious. The moment I started reading, I couldn't stop. The book was just like a part of me. It made me cry, it made me feel the pain of the main character. I am impressed. I adore it. I recommend it. A book similar to this one is All American Boys.

IndyPL_JessicaNS Mar 19, 2020

A powerful story told in verse about a boy named Will, who has to decide if he will follow the rules that have been set for him or not. Recommended for ages 13+.

I enjoyed this story because I love poetry, but also because I couldn't wait to see what would happen as the elevator stopped on each floor. It's a tough read, one filled with gun violence, gang rivalries, and poverty, but that shouldn't stop kids (or adults) from reading it. Even if your life doesn't look like Will's, this short read will give you a window to see what it would be like if it was.

Mar 09, 2020

Immediately following the murder of his older brother and assuming the responsibility of retribution, Will grabs Shawn's gun and boards the elevator in their building, heading down. Told in verse both honest and arresting, in this narrative Will discovers that a lot can happen in the space of the one short minute it takes for the car to reach the ground floor. I simultaneously read/listened to this book as part of the 2020 Read Harder Challenge, fulfilling the category "an audiobook of poetry." Recommended.

Jan 07, 2020

Objectively good, but not my cup of tea. I'm just not a poetry person.

There was a shooting. In an area where they are not uncommon. This book explores the inner monologue of a character very close to the shooting in the immediate aftermath of that event and, in doing so, does an excellent job of exploring the culture of the neighbourhood.

I don't want to say a lot more than that because I don't want to spoil the story. It was worth reading, and I do recommend it to anyone who enjoys verse.

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May 25, 2020

blue_cheetah_13191 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jun 18, 2019

TheBookTheif thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 05, 2019

blue_dog_31717 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 03, 2018

amma13888 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

OPL_KrisC Apr 06, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Quote
Jun 18, 2019

it's weird to know
a person you don't know

and at the same time

not know
a person you know,

you know?”

Jun 18, 2019


is when you take a word and rearrange the letters to make another word. And sometimes the words are still somehow connected ex: CANOE = OCEAN. Same letters, different words, somehow still make sense together, like brothers.”

Jun 18, 2019



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