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Monday, July 30, 2018

Ghost (Track Book 1) by Jason Reynolds

GhostCastle Crenshaw, or Ghost as he likes to be called, learned how to run fast the night his dad got drunk and threatened Ghost and his mom with a gun.  As you can guess, life has not been easy for Ghost.  His dad is in jail and his mom works hard but they struggle to make ends meet.  School isn't any better as he doesn't know how to deal with his anger so he is always getting in trouble.  One day while killing time in the park, he watches a track warm-up and ends up racing one of the fastest kids on the team - and wins.  The coach offers Ghost a spot on the team and he reluctantly agrees but it's not what he expected.  He actually begins to like being on the team and finds out that the lives of his teammates or his coach may not be any better than his own.  Coach has high expectations and it is hard for Ghost to live up to those expectations because trouble seems to always follow him.

The nickname Ghost fits the main character because he is haunted by his past.  This story is sensitive, but provides a realistic look at a young urban black male dealing with trauma and trying to avoid the effects of poverty, abuse and racism.  It doesn't reveal a happy ending for Ghost but it also doesn't predict a bad one either.  Running is an outlet for Ghost but it is up to him to set the course for his life.  Reynolds shows how an influential adult can have a positive effect on a life of a young person.

The book is a quick but powerful read.  If you like this one, you may like the rest in the Track series about the other members of the track team:  Patina (Track #2), Sunny (Track #3), and out on October 23, 2018, Lu (Track #4).

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