I genuinely believe that YA fiction is opening up conversations about difficult topics to an age group who are on the cusp of forming their own opinions about society. When I was younger, the YA fiction was soft; it skirted around issues and acted like teenagers were too delicate or were unable to discuss difficult topics. Not anymore; the world of literature is a better place for it.
Jason Reynolds discusses knife crime in the book Long Way Down. It is the story of Will who has just seen his brother shot and killed due to gang crime. It is time for him to take his brother’s place on the street. He knows it. He also knows who has killed his brother and he is out for vengeance.
Told entirely in verse, we track Will as he goes to avenge his brother’s murder. We watch as people try to talk him out of his actions. We watch as those people – who are not who you would expect – reveal how gun and gang crime have impacted their own lives.
Long Way Down is hard hitting but it needs to be. It doesn’t paint a happy picture; it is gritty and it is realistic. Long Way Down is, for want of a better word, brilliant.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is available now.
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books; Reprint edition (2 April 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481438263
- ISBN-13: 978-1481438261
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 413 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)