Ghost by Jason Reynolds

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. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life.

Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw is not a typical athlete. In fact, he has no athletic training at all. He stumbles upon a track team’s training session, and on a whim, decides to join a race. Wearing beat up sneaker and jeans, he manages to amaze everyone, especially the coach. Ghost hasn’t had the easiest of lives. His Dad is not in the picture and his Mom works long hours. Joining the track team is his chance to make friends and stay out of trouble. He has some problems becoming part of the team and staying out of trouble, but he eventually finds himself on the right path.

I am a huge Jason Reynolds fan and have not been disappointed by any of his books and this is no exception. This is a short novel, but it still has lots of depths to it. Ghost’s story tugs at your heartstrings. He makes a bad decision during the novel, but instead of being angry with him about it, all I felt was empathy and sympathy. The secondary characters are wonderful, especially the store owner Mr. Charles. Mr. Charles shows Ghost the much needed kindness he needs. Someone I follow on Twitter captured their relationship perfectly by stating she will never see sunflower seeds in the same way again.

There are glimpses of Ghost’s teammates, who also have their own stories.  Even Coach has his own story, which he shares with Ghost to help him get on the right path. He’s a wonderful mentor and every troubled youth should have a person like Coach in their corner to support them. You get some glimpses at Ghost’s Mom, which is refreshing. Parents in YA novels tend to be absent.

This is the first in a series and I cannot wait to read the others.

Rating: 5/5

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