It has happened again. Someone close to him has been taken, by violence. Gun violence. Will knows what he has to do. After all, there are rules that have to be followed. For example, no matter how you are really feeling, you can’t cry. You can’t snitch and you must – MUST – get Revenge.
Will’s older brother, Shawn has been killed. Gunned down in the street on his way back from getting special medical cream for their mother. And this isn’t the first important person to be lost in Will’s life to guns. Will knows who did it, who killed his brother. And now, according to the rules, he needs to seek Revenge.
Will finds a gun in his brother’s drawer and knows it is now or never. He has to get revenge. But as he listens to his mother crying, and thinks of what he must do, he worries if he’ll be able to complete his revenge. After all, he’s never even shot a gun before.
Still, he heads down in his apartment building’s elevator, ready to do what needs to be done. Once on the elevator, he is surprised when a man gets on and begins talking with him, and when Will recognizes who it is, he begins to question his sanity.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds takes a hard look at the cost of violence in many communities around the United States, and what it is like to have certain rules in your life. Can young people really have the courage to break the rules that have governed their lives for so long, or are they doomed to keep repeating the same events over and over?
Recommended for grades 7 and up.