Ghost (Track)

Jason Reynolds
A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature. Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel in a new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing theirs.


Reviewed: 2019-11-13

Scaringly Mediocre

** stars

Ghost is a good read to people who don’t read often, but it’s something only seventh graders. The author, Jason Reynolds, describes the main character, Castle Crenshaw, also known as “Ghost” to his peers, as a kid with a bad history with his father forcing him and his mother to move and live with very little money. Ghost gets teased a lot at school and finally decides to stand up for himself, but that gets him suspended. Later that day, he shows up at a track field just to observe but then goes running with the track team. He manages to stay very close to one of the fastest runners on the team. when he goes to leave, the coach tells Ghost that he wants him to join the team. Ghost mainly plays basketball but the coach promises that if he ran for the team, he would be faster, which would help him become a better player. When the coach talked to Ghost’s mother about the team she said that he could be on it as long as he stayed out of trouble. He was accepted onto the team but his place on the team was threatened when he stole a pair of running shoes. The ghost of this mistake follows him throughout the rest of the book and, if he gets caught, he will be forced to quit the team, which he doesn’t want to do.   

The book is well written by Reynolds and he did a great job telling the story of a kid who gets teased by describing where he lives and what clothes he wears. He describes well what is going through Ghost’s mind and how the people around him positively and negatively impact him and how that affects his choices. For example, a kid named Brandon Simmons goes to Ghost’s school and his main priority is to be a jerk. This has been going on for a while and during lunch one day, Ghost had enough and decided to finally stand up for himself. He punched Brandon in the face, which got him suspended, but it was only for a day because he reasoned with the principal. This lets the reader know that Brandon is a problem and what mindset Ghost is in when he is in these situations. 


One thing that made me wish I dropped the book before I read it was the fact that it ended with a cliffhanger. It had a great buildup to the end but Reynolds, in my opinion, did a bad job of ending this story. What bugged me was that if you want to know what happens, you have to read another book which is a continuation of this book’s story.

Donovan Cooper '19

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