Book Review

Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds – Illustrated by Chris Priestley 

Will knows The Rules. He knows that when someone you love gets shot there are three simple rules to get through the days. So when his brother Shawn is shot and killed, Will gets on them straight away. 

Rule number 1 – no crying. Not a single tear. Rule number 2 – No Snitching. Not to the police, your mum or anyone. Rule number three – Get Revenge. Find the one who pulled the trigger and pull one right back at them. 

So will jumps in the elevator and presses L. L for Loser. L for Lobby. L for a Long Way Down. Can Will’s journey to street level change everything? 

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If you have been reading my blog for a long time, firstly thank you so much, but secondly – you will know I always love a book written in verse. Long Way Down was always going to be on my radar because of this. However, the book was extra likely to get picked up because of its amazing illustrator, Chris Priestly, if you haven’t seen any of his work its so powerful! 

I received Long Way Down last year from the publisher. I haven’t been reviewing books that much over recent years so have for the most part stopped requesting them. However I loved the sound of this one and begged to be a part of the promotion for it. I probably let Faber down in that its taken me over a year and a half to read and review, but I am so glad I chose to. This is a ghost story with a difference and I’m glad I decided to put it on my Halloween reads list this year. 

The story is harrowing. It’s so vivid and alive that although the majority of it takes place in one setting, I could picture Will’s whole life, I loved getting to know him, his family and his situation and read the entire book in one sitting. At 322 pages, its not a small book, but with the verses, there are some pages with just 5 lines on them. 

I could hear Will’s voice shine through the pages and really speak to me and in all honesty, I could understand the reasoning behind his actions. I could feel that this was probably a situation that so many young men have been in in their lives, especially in the types of areas that the book was obviously set, and felt for them. It much be a horrible place to be, and a horrible situation to be in. Jason Reynolds did an amazing job of bringing it to life and really making me think about it. 

The illustrations were, as I expected, amazing. There was a drawing of a photograph that was perfect and I loved the way they were scattered throughout the book, marking significant points of the story. 

If you are looking for a gritty, true to life book and love the idea of a book written in verse this is the one for you. It’s also a perfect introduction to the power of stories written in verse if you have never read one and I would whole-heartedly recommend it. 

For more information visit the Faber and Faber website. this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by the publisher. 

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