MG Book Review: Ghost by Jason Reynolds

 

GhostCastle Cranshaw can run. He discovered how fast he was the night he and his mother had to out run the bullets his father was shooting at them. Being in middle school is tough enough, but it’s even tougher when your father is in jail for attempting to murder you and your mother’s lousy cafeteria job means you live in the worst of the worst public housing and you have to wear second-hand clothes. Castle has a hard time controlling his anger. If he has anymore “altercations” he might be permanently suspended from school.

One day, Castle (who nicknames himself “Ghost”) watches a track team practicing. He’s not impressed. He knows he could smoke those dudes. He challenges the sprinter and wins. The coach knows raw talent when he sees it and convinces Castle to join the team.

Although he always thought he wanted to play basketball, Castle soon realizes that he loves running and he loves being good at something besides getting into trouble. But he needs running shoes, real running shoes, not his hi-top knock-offs. He’s knows it wrong but he doesn’t know any other way of getting new shoes but to steal them.  Will he lose his spot on the team?

Ghost was a National Book Award finalist and is the first in a new series about an elite track team. Castle is a messed-up angry kid. Track might be his only way out of that downward spiral. We want him to win his race because it’s a race for his future. Ghost is a fantastic sports story, but it’s so much more than that.  I highly recommend it to kids ten and up, especially reluctant boy readers.

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