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  • Writer's pictureEvangeline Lawson

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Blood soaking into a

T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots

looks a lot like chocolate syrup

when the glow from the streetlights hit it.

But I know ain't

nothing sweet about blood.

I know it ain't like chocolate syrup

at all.

-RANDOM THOUGHT from Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is definitely worthy of all of the accolades it has received. The style the book is written in, poetically succinct, is simple but packs emotional depth, as it mirrors the waves of emotion experienced by the story teller Will. It's like you're watching a film in how the prose is delivered. You aren't just witnessing the grief, you feel it. You aren't just an observer of the fear and longing, you in a way, become absorbed by it too as the story progresses. It's fluidity is presented similarly to how waves of thought might evolve in anyone's mind, but is captured magically in the pages.

This book was a perfect parallel to Walter Dean Myers' Lockdown, which I reviewed earlier this week. It's like one story could be the precursor to the other in subject. But both elicit compassion for the main characters, who deliver their first person narratives in a way that draws you in, forces you to see and acknowledge, but push for them too. Push for their respective victories over the pull to compromise, as they debate what truly is "right" for them.

I love this book. For anyone. For the one who loves to read, but also for those that avoid books like the plague. I especially recommend Long Way Down for the young reader who wants to see themselves, their neighborhood, and their people. Those who struggle to be engaged in the stories of those whose existence seems detached from their own. But also for the person who may not fully understand the social afflictions of situations they have not personally endured; the mental tug of war, struggle for survival and the drive to right the wrongs that are inadvertently experienced, just because of who you are or where you were born. #blackhistorymonth

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