A moving rendition that stands on its own.

LONG WAY DOWN

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

After Will’s older brother, Shawn, is shot and killed, Will knows he has to follow the rules: Don’t cry, don’t snitch, get revenge.

The rules are so old it’s hard to know where they came from, but Will knows they are not meant to be broken. He gets Shawn’s gun and heads downstairs in the elevator to shoot Riggs, his brother’s former friend, who he is convinced is responsible. As the elevator door opens on each floor, Will is confronted by people from his past who were also victims of gun violence. They question Will’s plan and motivation, and although Will was certain it was Riggs when he first got into the elevator, at some point he isn’t so sure. The ghosts, their truths, and the fact that he has never held a gun before make the decision to enact revenge that much more frightening. Based on Reynolds’ 2017 award-winning verse novel of the same name, this full-color graphic adaptation will pull in both old and new readers. Novgorodoff’s ink-and-watercolor images bring a softness to the text that contrasts with the violent deaths and the stark choice Will faces. Reynolds’ fans will be pleased to see some of the original dialogue and narration remain, though edited to keep the story emotion-packed and the pace as swift as the elevator ride. Characters are Black.

A moving rendition that stands on its own. (Graphic fiction.12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4495-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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    Best Books Of 2014

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion.

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    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

LONG WAY DOWN

After 15-year-old Will sees his older brother, Shawn, gunned down on the streets, he sets out to do the expected: the rules dictate no crying, no snitching, and revenge.

Though the African-American teen has never held one, Will leaves his apartment with his brother’s gun tucked in his waistband. As he travels down on the elevator, the door opens on certain floors, and Will is confronted with a different figure from his past, each a victim of gun violence, each important in his life. They also force Will to face the questions he has about his plan. As each “ghost” speaks, Will realizes how much of his own story has been unknown to him and how intricately woven they are. Told in free-verse poems, this is a raw, powerful, and emotional depiction of urban violence. The structure of the novel heightens the tension, as each stop of the elevator brings a new challenge until the narrative arrives at its taut, ambiguous ending. There is considerable symbolism, including the 15 bullets in the gun and the way the elevator rules parallel street rules. Reynolds masterfully weaves in textured glimpses of the supporting characters. Throughout, readers get a vivid picture of Will and the people in his life, all trying to cope with the circumstances of their environment while expressing the love, uncertainty, and hope that all humans share.

This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion. (Verse fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3825-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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