Long Way Down

Content Overview

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Blood, Crime


Potentially Intense Themes


**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) What a powerful story! The majority of the book spans a 60 second time period where a young man travels down an elevator. His brother has been murdered. He knows the “rule” he is to follow is revenge. So he grabs a gun. On his short ride down the elevator, multiple people get on, but they are all people from his past, every single one of them has been killed with a gun. They tell their stories and share their love for Will.

This is a moving story. There is such power behind words but also power behind actions. So many life lessons are learned and shared in that elevator. I admire Reynold’s way of bringing such an intense topic to light and for bringing in the other side of the story. It’s very thought provoking and poetic. I was immersed from the start and was very moved. Beautifully written.

The content was fairly low. Due to the topic, it has intense situations and descriptions but nothing I would deem as extreme.

Long Way Down

Jason Reynolds

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings. 

Detailed Content Review


F***- 1

H***-  6

S***- 5

A**- 3


D***- 5


Religious Cursing-





Derogatory terms etc-

Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

A man smokes a cigarette multiple times..  A young woman smokes a cigarette. 

A man sells drugs on a corner and makes lots of money. 

Two men drink a bottle of “something strong.”

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A young man’s brother has previously been shot. 

A young man refers to someone taking pliers and ripping someones tooth out. 

Gun shots are heard and many hide. A man is lying in the street, his girlfriend screaming and kissing him. 

While two kids (8) play at a park, someone shoots one of them, killing her. 

A man kills another man over territory. 

A man killed another man over the death of a relative. He tells how he did it then the feelings he felt after. He learns it was the wrong guy. His son is ashamed of him for not killing the right guy. 

A father holds a gun to his son’s head. 

As part of a gang initiation, you need to rob or kill someone. A young man is supposed to rob but he shoots a man. 

Potentially Intense Themes

One life rule they have is to always exact revenge for a death with a death. 

A young man grabs a gun and hides it. Then sticks it in his pants with the intention of using it. 

A young man sees and talks to a ghost of an old friend. Then he sees another ghost of a friend. 

And another, then the ghost of his father. And another man. Then his dead brother’s ghost with bloodstains came  in. 

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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