Verse Novels & Poetry

Grades 7+


Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds

2017- Atheneum

There are three rules in the neighborhood: Don't cry; Don't snitch; Get revenge. Will takes his dead brother Shawn's gun, and gets in the elevator on the 7th floor. As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to Shawn gets on. Someone already dead. And each has something to share with Will before he joins a vicious cycle of violence.

Keywords: Brothers, Ghost Stories, Gun Violence, Morality, Revenge , Verse novels



By David Elliott

2017- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

With a variety of poetic forms and infectious rap-style rhythm, David Elliott retells the ancient Greek myth of the minotaur. Half-boy and half-bull, young Asterion is jailed in an underground maze and treated like a monster. Can he escape his prison? And can he escape the madness brewing in his own mind? In turns funny, heartbreaking, and edgy this fast-paced retelling vividly brings fresh voice to an ancient story.

Keywords: Adolescence, Bull, Friendship, Gods and Goddesses, Greek Mythology, Madness, Mazes, Romance, Revenge.


Shakespeare Bats Cleanup

By Ron Koertge

2006- Candlewick Press

When star player Kevin Boland learns that he has mono and won’t be seeing a baseball field for a while, he suddenly finds himself scrawling a poem down the middle of a page in his journal. To get some help, he cops a poetry book from his dad’s den--and before Kevin knows it, he’s writing in verse about stuff like, Will his jock friends give up on him? What's the deal with girlfriends? Surprisingly enough, after his health improves, he keeps on writing, about the smart-talking Latina girl who thinks poets are cool, and even about his mother, whose death is a still-tender loss.

Keywords: Baseball, High School, Poetry, Reading, Shakespeare, Sickness, Sports, Verse novels, Writing