Posted 20 hours ago

Long Way Down

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I’ve always loved stories written in verse, so when I heard about this own-voice tale of the struggles that toxic masculinity and systemic racism place upon young black men, I was immediately interested. A heartrending and convincing blank verse narrative, with atmospheric mixed-media images by Chris Priestley, about a 15-year-old boy whose brother is shot, "lying there like a piece/of furniture left outside", and who wrestles with the idea of revenge. Jason Reynolds' extraordinary Long Way Down follows Will, a 15-year-old boy out for revenge after his older brother is shot dead.

I can picture the faces in my head of the former students I wish were still in my classroom so I could put this book right into their hands.

At the center of the novel are the unwritten "rules" that act as a code of ethics and lay out the expected norms in the neighborhood. Reynolds' decision to leave the story open-ended is a stylistic choice that allows the reader to evaluate all the facts given and interpret what they believe the final outcome will be. From Nobel Laureates Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter to theatre greats Tom Stoppard and Alan Bennett to rising stars Polly Stenham and Florian Zeller, Faber Drama presents the very best theatre has to offer. The award-winning, bestselling verse novel is now a stunning graphic novel with illustrations by Danica Novgorodoff. While the prose of these two books are certainly different, I found Long Way Down slightly superior because of the narrative in verse.

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors.Will knows his mission is probably going to leave him in the same state as his brother, but it’s all he’s equipped to do. When his older brother Shawn is shot dead in front of him, Will is overcome with grief, despair and fury.

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