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Long Way Down (2018 Edition)

Jason Reynolds
Illustrated by Chris Priestley

‘A masterpiece from beginning to end.’ Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give

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Date Published
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SHORTLISTED for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, WINNER of the UKLA

‘A masterpiece from beginning to end.’ Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give

hid, tucked
themselves tight.

Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by
the buzz of a bullet,
didn’t meet us.

After Will’s brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn’s gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will’s friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he’s doing.

This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.

‘A heartrending and convincing blank verse narrative.’ Sunday Times, BOOKS OF THE YEAR

‘Astonishing.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘A tour de force.’ Publishers Weekly

‘Will attract teenagers who don’t consider themselves ‘readers’.’ The Inis Reading Guide

Critic Reviews

Spanning a mere one minute and seven seconds, Reynolds’ new free-verse novel is an intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger. Reynolds’ concise verses echo like shots against the white space of the page, their impact resounding. He peels back the individual stories that led to this moment in the elevator and exposes a culture inured to violence because poverty, gang life, or injustice has left them with no other option. In this all too real portrait of survival, Reynolds goes toe-to-toe with where, or even if, love and choice are allowed to exist.

Critic Reviews

Jason Reynolds is a literary genius who gives voice to a generation. Long Way Down is powerful, beautiful, and will stay with you long after Will's journey ends. A masterpiece from beginning to end.

Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Hate U Give
Critic Reviews

'Told in verse, this title is fabulistic in its simplicity . . . It will pair well with Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give . . . This powerful work is an important addition to any collection.'

School Library Journal
Critic Reviews

Told in free-verse poems, this is a raw, powerful, and emotional depiction of urban violence. This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion.

Critic Reviews

This verse novel deals movingly with the difficult subject of gang violence.

Critic Reviews

Will attract teenagers who don't consider themselves 'readers'.

The Inis Reading Guide
Interview with Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds discusses his new verse YA novel, Long Way Down, beautifully illustrated by Chris Priestley.


Jason Reynolds is a critically acclaimed American writer and poet and winner of the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers. From Jason: “Here’s what I know: I know there are a lot — A LOT — of young people who hate reading. I know that many of these book haters are boys. I know that many of these book-hating boys, don’t…

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