Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee are both unique Young Adult novels that capture diverse cultures. Set in the San Francisco area, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is full of Chinese mythology, comic dialogue, high school humor and features a strong Chinese American female protagonist. Long Way Down is a verse novel that deals with gun violence in the African American community.
In Long Way Down, the beauty of the poetry, the placement of words upon each page and the gray graphics present a work of art. The character of Will comes alive as the elevator descends and a ghost enters on each floor. Once I started reading I could not put the novel down. It was hard for me to get through The Epic Crush of Genie Lo since I found the characters annoying.
The words in Long Way Down flow smoothly which showed a lot of effort on the part of the author. Writing poetry and causing an emotional response is not an easy task. I found the writing in The Epic Crush of Genie Lo jarring and disjointed.
The moods of both books are a study in contrasting tones. Although Genie and Quentin must battle ferocious demons the plot is spiced with humor and outrageous situations and the readers leaves with a feeling of lightness. Long Way Down slams the reader with its gritty realism and senseless violence. The ending took my breath away and left me with strong motivation to discuss the book with teen readers.
And the winner is…
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
The writing, style of presentation and impact are the factors that influence my choice of Long Way Down as the winner. Long Way Down will stand the test of time as an outstanding work of Young Adult fiction.