Long Way Down, though seemingly uninteresting at first, made me rethink how I look at life

Nobody likes being forced to read books, especially books that have every component they hate. However, in English classes, being forced to read books that you don’t want to is part of the deal. In this case, I had to read Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, and I was not happy about it at all.

When I first picked up this book, I was not thrilled. I hate reading books for school because I like having the choice of what I get to read. Also, the book is written in verse, which is another feature I hate. I was not looking forward to this book.

On the contrary, my expectations were blown out of the water. The book follows Will, a fifteen-year-old boy, who just lost his brother. Will lives in a not-so-great neighborhood and has grown up hearing about ‘the rules.’ No crying, no snitching, get revenge.

Dani is very funny and blunt, and she is completely the opposite of me—oddly, I find myself full of admiration for her character.”

— Alex Smith

When Will’s brother, Shawn, is shot and killed, Will wants to follow the rules and take revenge by killing the man who did it, but as he is going to complete that task, he gets some unexpected visitors that make him reconsider.

This book made me feel a plethora of different emotions that I can’t even begin to explain—the greatest one, though, was confusion. That isn’t usually what you want from a book, but it was a kind of confusion that helped me realize the depth of the book. 

I had to think in a long and pensive manner about everything that was happening in the book, and it was really enjoyable. It made me understand more about how other people, who aren’t as fortunate as me, get through life. 

Throughout the book, Will gets many different points of view on whether or not he should kill who shot Shawn so that he can decide whether or not to do it. The entire book takes place in sixty-seven seconds, which is a big part of why it is written in verse.

One of my favorite characters in the book is Dani. Will and Dani were friends when they were little, and Dani was shot in a drive-by. It devastated Will, and he had to learn to cope with it. Dani is very funny and blunt, and she is completely the opposite of me—oddly, I find myself full of admiration for her character. I wish that Dani had a longer life even though we only get a short amount of time with her in the book; I missed her as soon as she faded away. 

On top of having lovable characters, the storyline is brilliant, and it is very creative. The fact that the whole book takes place in a very short amount of time, but covers a very important topic and does it well, is outstanding.

Reynolds portrays all of the characters in a very realistic and relatable way, which caused me to be more interested in the book because I could relate to the characters even though I haven’t been through what they have.

There are certain symbols in the book, including smoke, an elevator, and a gun that cause a reason to think and make you want to understand their importance in the book. I spent a lot of time thinking about all of the symbols, the language, and the format of the book.

Long Way Down is a brilliantly written book covering a very important topic, and I absolutely loved it. It was so thought-provoking, and I wanted to keep reading even after it ended. The lessons that this book teaches are so crucial to life and changed the way I think about a lot of things.