Ghost by Jason Reynolds [in School Library Journal]
Guy Lockard has assumed the mantle of narrator-of-choice for Jason Reynolds’s fiction: Ghost (2016 National Book Award finalist) is Lockard’s third Reynolds title, following As Brave as You and Rashad’s chapters in All American Boys. Here, as seventh grader Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw, Lockard performs with excitable bravado, ruminating honesty, and trash-talking speed.
Ghost runs fast with good reason, having escaped his father, who chased him and his mother with a loaded gun. Three years later, Ghost’s mother works hard to keep him safe, while Ghost tries never to ask for more than she can give. His temper, however, too often keeps him fleeing from trouble of his own making.
When the track coach recognizes his immense talent, Ghost’s cocky arrogance initially gets in his way. How he finds his tremendous stride is a realistic, exhilarating story for all young audiences (look for a wink-wink to Reynolds’s friend and fellow author Christopher Myers, son of the legendary Walter Dean Myers, one of Reynolds’s inspirations).
Verdict: An ideal choice for even the most reluctant readers. Libraries should start building this “Track” (Ghost is the first of a series) immediately.
Readers: Middle Grade