books, poetry, review

Book Review: Long Way Down

Long Way Down

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually used his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?

Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books


4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book/poetry collection. This book told in verse.

And yes, it made me cry.

I thought the book was immensely well written, giving you insight and understanding into this kid and his grief, the way he was raised, even if you personally have no such experiences. Will is the best kind of kind-of unreliable narrator, you don’t know if he is or isn’t unreliable at all. I liked the theme of the ghosts of your past. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. The entire book takes place over a day or two, and I read it in about an hour and a half.

The only thing I disliked is, the ending felt a bit abrupt/ambiguous, which I think was sort of the point, but it bothered me.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Long Way Down”

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