Imagine that you are stuck in Hell – literally – with almost no means of escape. You are destined to keep watch over others’ pain for all eternity. But there is a single sliver of hope: if you could slip into the body of a live human being, you could live a life of freedom . . . at least until God caught you. One of Hell’s own “Fallen Angels” decides that overtaking a human body is worth the risk of facing the wrath of “the Boss.” He can’t take just any body, though. He focuses on one seventeen-year-old boy, who has just enough freedom to walk about on his own without being watched every moment, but few enough responsibilities to hold him back from doing whatever it is he would like to do. And, of course, he can’t just overcome any living soul either; he specifically chose this boy just at the moment that he was about to be hit by a truck and die anyway.
As soon as he is in the teen’s body, the “angel” is overwhelmed by the colors, the detail and beauty, and the intensity of life on earth. He doesn’t know how long he has, so he strives to get all the experiences out of life that he can possibly muster, including attempting to act on many of the thoughts with which the average teenage boy is familiar. He knows he can’t stay, and wonders what life will be like without him. Haven’t you ever wondered if you’ll leave a lasting impression during your time on earth?
This Printz Honor book deserves special attention from readers looking for something a little bit different – a twist on teenage drama. A balanced mix of light and dark, heavy and humorous, makes this title worth a bit of your time.
Recommended for high school readers.
Call number: YA JENKINS (Teen Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
1 week ago