Lone Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Illustrations by Chris Priestley
AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTS
Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by
the buzz of a bullet,
didn’t meet us.
After Will’s brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn’s gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will’s friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he’s doing.
This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.
Wow! Where to begin with this novel? I read this in just an hour. The author has developed his own style of writing and this I absolutely LOVED. I have a great respect for author’s who choose to write in their own unique style and make zero apologies for it! So straight away, that was a ‘Go Jason!’ from me!
The novel is YA, I am 34 years old! My days of being a YA are long behind me. But I firmly believe YA is for everyone! Therefore, I have continued to support YA novels on my blog as often as I can. The novel also has illustrations within it’s pages. They are amazing, accurate to the emotions and themes and I only wish I owned a physical copy now!
The illustrator Chris Priestley has done a phenomenal job!
The novel opens with William Holloman (Will to his friends). In the aftermath of his brother Shawn’s shooting. Will is 15 years old, his brother just four years older. I immediately started asking myself, Why did this young life, have to end so soon? As Will describes his pain and grief at the loss of his brother. You begin to realise the pain of bereavement is deeply painful for everyone, regardless of age. It just resonates with each individual differently. In that split second, Will knows what he must do………….
“If the blood inside you is on the inside of someone else, you never want to see it on the outside of them” – Will
Will talks us through the local neighbourhood people. What happens when a crime like this takes place and most importantly of all the rules!
The rules: No crying, no snitching and revenge!
As a mother, reading Will’s words, I really began to worry for his future and where the path of vengeance would take him.
“Gun shots make everybody deaf and blind especially when they make somebody dead”
“If someone you love gets killed, find the person who killed them and kill them”
The novel briefly describes Will and Shawn’s mother’s pain. Her worries that Shawn stay out of jail, not get his girlfriend pregnant and not die!
We also hear Will describe his relationship with Shawn. His favourite brother, his only brother. It is with that in mind, he grabs Shawn’s gun and decides to get revenge.
What happens once Will enters the elevator, is the true beauty of this novel. He will be met with a variety of characters, all known personally to him.
Well at least until they died…..
They offer their words of wisdom, each taking a turn to show Will the consequences, his future actions could have!
“Might as well relax, it’s a long way down” – Buck
The writing is poetic and beautiful. I had so many quotes written in my reading journal. Jason Reynolds has proven, without a shadow of a doubt, He is a master wordsmith!
The novel depicts the cycle of violence and gang culture.
But in a way, I have NEVER read before.
I can see the huge appeal to YA readers, as the novel really is written to them. But the novel still manages to be unique and moving to the older adult reader also. Which cannot, be an easy writing endeavour.
A HUGE 5* from me!