This book. This book is wonderful in painful, intense, and heartbreaking ways. Will has lived his life by the rules of his neighborhood:

No. 1: Crying

Don’t.

No matter what.

Don’t.

No. 2: Snitching

Don’t.

No matter what.

Don’t.

No. 3: Revenge

If someone you love

gets killed,

find the person who killed

them and

kill them.

(p31-33)

When Will’s brother, Shawn, is shot and killed Will is prepared to follow the rules. He wakes up early, grabs his brother’s gun, and heads out to complete rule 3. When he gets on his building’s elevator though he discovers the ride down from the 7th floor  is going to be a lot longer than he anticipated. When it makes a stop on the  6th floor his older brother’s friend, Bucky, gets on; Bucky is dead.

As Will faces the ghosts of others who followed the rules, he comes face to face with the consequences of them, all the while dealing with the anger and hurt that his brother’s death has caused.

A novel told in verse, that in real time only covers minutes and a seven floor elevator ride, holds time still as lost lives converge in a story of loyalty, love, violence, and revenge. Each verse, anagram, and word was thoughtfully chosen and they all hit a chord. An exceptional book by Jason Reynolds.

Other books you might like:

Bull by David Elliott

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Monster by Walter Dean Myers