Parents' Guide to

Long Way Down

By Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Gripping, unnerving story of teen boy contemplating revenge.

Long Way Down Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 18+


life is good

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 11+

A powerful and moving story

This story is about Will, who is faced with the decision to get revenge for his brother who has been shot and killed. He has been taught the street rules, which are #1Don't cry # 2 Don't snitch # 3 Always get revenge. He is now faced with the choice to get revenge or to follow the path his brother tried to send him on to break the cycle. The majority of the story takes place in an elevator over about 60 seconds where he is visited by some unlikely visitors that make him think about what he is about to do. This was a powerfully moving story that speaks to the heart. It is written in the form of free verse poetry so it is packed with sensory language that brings the story to life. It is a great way to open a discussion about making good choices and how hard is it to break cycles within families and cultures. There is talk about gun and street violence but it is not explicit. There is also one "F" word.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7):
Kids say (15):

A stellar creepy, engaging, heartbreaking novel in verse, Long Way Down is another example of what author Jason Reynolds does best: Put voice to real-life issues teens face. The entire book takes place over 60 seconds of the main character's life, enough time for him to question everything he's been taught and change his life forever. Sixty seconds in this book is the difference between life and death, and readers are along for the ride from the first bing of the elevator button.

The emotions Will experiences are striking, and readers are gripped tight in the chest the entire time they're in the elevator with him. Like Will's elevator ride, the novel-in-verse's style is short and hard-hitting. Reynolds doesn't give readers a happily-ever-after ending, just the knowledge that there are choices people make every day that can put them in the hereafter before they can even blink.

Book Details

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