Jason Reynolds’ award-winning middle-grade novel Ghost tells the story of a boy who joins a track team. But he’s not just any boy; he’s one who, three years ago,ran for his life from his father. He’s the one whose mother, struggling to work and go to school and be a parent, can’t afford decent clothes or a decent neighborhood for him, exposing him to ridicule. And he’s the one who can’t take ridicule without exploding.
In short, Ghost is a troubled kid in poverty. But he’s also gifted. Maybe because of that night he ran for his life, he is good at running. He crashes a track team practice session and quickly convinces the coach he should be on the team. But can he stay out of trouble and stay on the team? Does he want to?
This is a very good book, strong characters, well plotted. It’s a journey toward healing from trauma, with helpful responses from nearly all the adults in the story. This book is particularly good at opening the eyes of middle-class white people like me to the challenges lived daily by kids of color in poverty. An anti-racism book for sure. Five stars. *****