Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books on October 24th 2017
A cannon. A strap.A piece. A biscuit.A burner. A heater.A chopper. A gat.A hammerA toolfor 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.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so we wanted to share a review not of a Civil Rights-era historical novel, but a novel that explores many of the issues still facing the African-American community, and therefore should be of importance to all Americans. –Sandie
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but, I have a secret. A secret crush on Jason Reynolds. And,
yes, he is a handsome man, but no, that’s not why I have a crush. It’s one hundred
percent because of his writing. I mean, I know I’m not the only one. Anyone who’s
read any of his works can understand. And the best part, he’s super prolific.
Jason Reynolds’ multiple-award-winning YA novel is a book in verse. And if that weren’t enough, nearly
the entire book takes place over the course of one, sixty-second elevator ride. It’s a
super fast read that sucks you in, like a black hole of grief and wonder. Fifteen year
old Will’s older brother Shawn has been shot, and Will has decided to follow the
code that he grew up with, the code that has gotten so many people he knows killed.
The rules: no crying, no snitching, and be sure to get revenge. And most importantly,
the rules were not made to be broken, but as Will says, “they were made for the
broken.” With a gun in his waistband and anguish in his chest, Will steps into the
elevator. This harsh reality is anything but beautiful, but Reynolds words are. His
care for the unseen, unheard teens that his stories are written for is more than
beautiful. It’s a calling.
“I’VE NEVER BEEN
in an earthquake
Don’t know if this was
even close to how they
are, but the ground
defi nitely felt like
it o pened up
and ate me.”