Posted 20 hours ago

Long Way Down

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I can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy, to reread, sit with his words and turns of phrase, and find the spots that bear repeating to kids in our classrooms. i've read several books written in verse now and this one was superior to all the ones i've read before. But on his way down in the elevator, he encounters the spirits of the people in his life who have passed away. This makes Will feel conflicted because he wants to cry, to express his grief, but he also wants to make his brother proud, and show that he can be strong and handle his business as expected.

I had trouble visualizing the setting for some reason, the writing style in verse lacked something for me.The weight of dehumanization, of being stripped of personhood because of instinctual moments and feelings, unfettered. There was just the right amount of choice to suit everyone without being overwhelming and I received comments from parents and staff about the quality of books offered compared to previous sales which have always been based around current crazes and well known celebrity authors. the novel ends with some hope that Will will make the right decision and has been influenced by the people he encountered during that long ride down. Street violence is common in their neighborhood, and many deaths are a result of "rules" which drive kill or be killed motives. Shawn, Will's deceased brother enters last; he doesn't speak to Will, but cries, breaking the rules which emotionally moves Will.

Jason Reynolds is an author I discovered last year and I have yet to pick up a book by him I haven't loved. By doing so, the reader can only wonder how the lives of these loved ones might have been different if they had had this wisdom bestowed upon them while they were alive. As a mother, reading Will’s words, I really began to worry for his future and where the path of vengeance would take him.As Will listens to his mother's sobs at home, he opens the middle drawer of Shawn's dresser, previously forbidden territory, and finds a gun. I would’ve loved to have seen this story fleshed out a bit more; most of the pages have only 10-20 words printed on them, and I just think that, had this been written like most verse novels, where there was a solid paragraph or two per page, it would’ve carried the impact across so much better and would have meant that much more. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.

Things take a strange turn when on each floor, a murdered soul from Will’s past life enters the elevator, each sharing the story of their death. Reynolds' concise verses echo like shots against the white space of the page, their impact resounding.

This was such a powerful read, I hope readers everywhere and of all ages (teen and up) read it and are affected by it in a positive way. You know when you haven’t fully grasped the story they way you would have wanted to because you’re reading too fast and you just know that there are underlying gems that you are missing out on, but you can’t stop reading?

It’s a fantastic independent book seller that will actually be responsive and select appropriate books for you. To my mess of a brain, if poetry doesn't rhyme or have a prominent rhythm or pattern, it just seems that the enter key was pressed in random places. Long Way Down is a powerful young adult novel that explores violence in the lives of these young black men.Bethany is a certified Special Education and Elementary teacher with 11 years experience teaching Special Education from grades PK through 5. Shawn introduces Will to the "rules" in their neighborhood and to the concept of loyalty, which is a contributing factor to the amount of violence in their neighborhood. This is one of those books where you can”t explain the premise to anyone you just have to live and breath it, my daughter recommended it as she is training to be an English teacher and this book is on the curriculum, I can fully understand why, such powerful imagery and thought provoking way to tell the story, amazing! In the novel Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds, Will, the main character, has been taught to live by the rules: don't cry, don't snitch, and take revenge.

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