by Jason Reynolds (2016)
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Castle (“Ghost”) Cranshaw remembers the night he learned how to run…
“The sound was big, and sharp enough to make me feel like my brain was gonna pop in my head, enough to make my heart hiccup. But the craziest thing was, I felt like the shot—loudest sound I ever heard – made my legs move even faster. I don’t know if that’s possible, but that’s definitely what it seemed like.”
That’s Chapter One of Ghost.
Author Jason Reynolds takes Ghost (and readers) on a run from one altercation to the next as Ghost attempts to navigate the triggers of middle school life while learning to keep his anger in check.
Ghost is obsessed with world records, sunflower seeds, and hoops. Not organized hoops where everyone gets to be on the team, but serious ball that happens in the park. But the silent secret he harbors keeps him running solo. When he finds himself spontaneously challenging a sprinter who he thinks is overrated, he opens himself up to an unexpected possibility – being on an actual team.
Ghost brings to light issues that, sadly, are a part of life for some middle schoolers – domestic abuse, crime, and incarcerated family members. These issues provide a backdrop reminding readers how one event or trauma can affect all aspects of a teen’s life.
OSOB readers will also find the lighter side of middle school in Ghost – the all-important haircut, the “right” clothes, the beginnings of a crush, and team drama.
Reynolds provides an angst-filled starting point for debate and dialogue, and your readers, using our resource materials will find a host of ways to deliberate the gray areas in discussions that are far more complex than black and white.
Ghost is the first book in Reynolds’ The Track series, centered on middle school track athletes, each of whom has a secret to share. This book can serve as an exciting starting block for middle schoolers, parents, and teachers, offering a chance to run alongside Ghost and perhaps move from being a spectator/reader to becoming a vocal challenger.