GHOST by Jason Reynolds
Kirkus Star

GHOST

From the "Track" series, volume 1
Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016




Kirkus Interview
Jason Reynolds
February 10, 2015

In Jason Reynolds’ new YA novel The Boy in the Black Suit, 17-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, until he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest. Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. “Reynolds writes with a gritty realism that beautifully captures the challenges—and rewards—of growing up in the inner city,” our reviewer writes. “A vivid, satisfying and ultimately upbeat tale of grief, redemption and grace.” View video >

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