“Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds


The award winning novel “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds is WHS Book Club’s currently assigned novel. It was decided at the last meeting with the support of the majority of the club. A copy of the book can be found in the library as well as a digital version on the online library.

The book is about a boy named Will who attempts to get revenge for his brother’s life. It’s not only because he wants to, but because he feels like he has to. He feels as if he has to follow these three ominous rules generally referred to as “The Rules” taught to him by his deceased older brother. Lost to the cause, Will is forced into making decisions of who he is and what is important to him.“The Rules” are a group of three regulations that refuse to allow crying, snitching and encourages morbid revenge. Will and his brother aren’t credited with the invention of The Rules within the story; they just abide by them.

The novel described “The Rules” almost as if they were of a higher power and required obedience. A specific example of this is when the author wrote, “…they weren’t meant to be broken. They were meant for the broken to follow.”

Within the novel, illustrations of an elevator are featured to emphasize its significance as a literary symbol in the story. Each floor the elevator descends brings Will closer to inner reflection and reality.

“Long Way Down” is a free verse book, which meaning the book is written in free verse styled poems. Each new poem is similar to the start of a new chapter, resulting in a very fast read. The story is filled with big hot button topics including, but not limited to: murder, crime, morals, gang violence, gun violence, and poverty. Family is also heavily stressed upon, even if that family only centers on two people. Brotherhood and friendships are glorified throughout the novel as well.

Senior McKensi Bryce, who is president of the Book Club, said, “I love reading about concepts that are often taboo in schools because it gives me a bigger picture of what really goes on in our world. Reading does not only take you to a different world, it puts you in the perspective of different worlds.”

The book sheds light on real issues in our society. Single moms trying to provide for their children, criminal inductions into gangs at young ages, and gun violence in neighborhoods are all showcased in this creatively told story.

“Long Way Down” is a fast paced, well written novel worth reading, even if it’s a little out of your comfort zone.