Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“A novel in verse that spans the length of time it takes for an elevator to descend, Long Way Down finds Will mourning the death of his brother and grappling with the burden of avenging his murder. Will’s grief permeates every page, from his recollections of everyday childhood memories to his encounters with other figures from his past whose lives were destroyed by gun violence. Jason Reynolds says more with a stanza than most authors can say with a chapter.”
— Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA
"Jason Reynolds (When I Was the Greatest, All American Boys) is already one of the best writers in any genre, so I had high expectations for Long Way Down, Jason's first novel written in verse. Those expectations were shattered...and a half. This gritty, surreal story is really a polemic on the corrosive nature of revenge, and it is BRILLIANT! The last line is as good a closing to a book as I've read in a long time. This will be taught in schools for years to come... Read it." - Len Vlahos, owner— Len Vlahos
Long Way Down navigates gun violence through verse within the claustrophobic confines of a smoky elevator, conjuring a moment-to-moment story that must be followed until the fateful finale. Will’s brother has just been shot and killed, leaving Will traveling down six stories with a gun tucked into his waistband for revenge. He must follow his neighborhood’s Rules for avenging deaths, but past tragedies probe the future’s consequences and make Will’s confrontation more complex than he originally thought. Fans of Reynolds’ previous All American Boys (co-written with author Brendan Kiely) or Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give will find another worthy Coretta Scott King honoree in the electric and urgent Long Way Down.— M. Rae K., Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board member
Jason Reynolds’s Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, and Coretta Scott King Honor–winning, #1 New York Times bestselling novel Long Way Down is now a gripping, galvanizing graphic novel, with haunting artwork by Danica Novgorodoff.
Will’s older brother, Shawn, has been shot.
Will feels a sadness so great, he can’t explain it. But in his neighborhood, there are THE RULES:
No. 1: Crying.
No matter what.
No. 2: Snitching
No matter what.
No. 3: Revenge
No matter what.
But bullets miss. You can get the wrong guy. And there’s always someone else who knows to follow the rules…
Danica Novgorodoff is an artist, writer, graphic designer, and horse wrangler who lives in Kentucky. Her books include A Late Freeze; Slow Storm; Refresh, Refresh (included in The Best American Comics 2011); and The Undertaking of Lily Chen. Her art and writing have been published in Artforum, Esquire, Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, Orion, Seneca Review, Ecotone Literary Magazine, and many others. She was awarded a 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in literature and was named Sarabande Books’ 2016 writer-in-residence. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and Willapa Bay AiR. Visit her online at DanicaNovgorodoff.com.
— Kirkus, starred review
*"Novgorodoff’s watercolors, which bleed at the edges like pavement stains, match the text in mood and fluency, and by putting faces to characters, they tacitly untangle the web of revenge killings and mistaken identities foundational to the plot."
— BCCB, starred review
*"Reynolds’s words paint pictures of their own in this tragic yet poignant illustrated tale that offers no answers to the seemingly impossible choices some communities face."
— School Library Journal, starred review
*"Far more than just an illustration of the events of the novel, Novgorodoff’s iteration powerfully cultivates the tone and mood of its source material, demonstrating just how effective and artful comics can be."
— Booklist, starred review
"Danica Novgorodoff has done a superb job of graphically capturing the gritty emotions of the original story—the anguish, the cyclical bloodshed, and the terror of the present situation."
— School Library Connection
"Reynolds has skillfully edited and rearranged his original verse novel to create room for Novgorodoff’s impressionistic ink and watercolor illustrations to flourish, resulting in an adaptation that feels authentic to its new comics format."
— Horn Book Magazine *STARRED*
"In his YA novel Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds uses the painful past to reveal the difficulty between doing what you are taught is right and doing what is moral.
Danica Novgorodoff's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are a beautiful addition to Reynolds's lyrical text. A gorgeously illustrated reinterpretation of the novel."
— Shelf Awareness for Readers