Monday, January 30, 2017

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: GHOST by Jason Reynolds

GHOST by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, August 2016)

Another great "sports" book. (And a middle grade finalist for this year's Cybils award.)

What It's About (via jacket copy):
RUNNING. That's all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race--and wins--the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger and a past that he tries to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him.

Opening Lines:
Check this out. This dude named Andrew Dahl holds the world record for blowing up the most balloons... with his nose."

Five Things To Love:

  1. #WeNeedDiverseBooks is being embraced by the publishing industry, and I loved that this book is written by a black writer, and features a black male protagonist. The language and point of view was so authentic.
  2. Track and field. One of my favorite sports. I was a sprinter on my high school track team, and this took my right back to the feelings of being part of a team and of running fast.
  3. The theme. As it says on the front cover, "is Ghost running for his life, or from it?" In my opinion it could be both. His life is certainly tough, and he has been badly traumatized by a supposed loved one. Being part of the track team allows him the chance to find his way in the world.
  4. Male role models. The biggest wound in Ghost's life was caused by his father. Therefore, it is fitting that he should be fathered/mentored so well by the shop-keeper, Mr. Charles, and Coach. I loved the interactions between Ghost and these two important men in his life.
  5. Ghost's voice. As you can see from the opening lines, Ghost is humorous, engaging, and honest about what's going on in his life. His voice drives this short beauty of a novel. I was so hooked that, right after I finished it the first time, I turned once again to the first page and read it once more.
About The Author:
Jason Reynolds earned a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park. His novels include All American Boys (written with Brendan Kiely), The Boy in the Black Suit (both which were Coretta Scott King Honor books; When I was the Greatest, which won the 2015 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; and As Brave As You. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, 


  1. Ooh, this sounds like a great book. So glad of the diversity theme too.

  2. We've been discussing this one along with six other Cybil's finalists the past week. Now we have to come up with a final pick by Feb. 14th. Not an easy task. I enjoyed this one too, especially with two kinds of diversity–racial and economic. Stay tuned!

  3. Oh, I love books where you want to start over as soon as you finish reading. This one has been on my TBR list for a while.

  4. I really want to read this one!! It sounds great.

  5. This sounds really good. I'm glad it has diversity. I'm really intrigued by the "running for his life, or from it?" Definitely on my TBR!
    - Vi

  6. I love the diversity in this great sports story that is character driven. Teens will have a lot to relate too! Nice choice.

  7. You make this one sound really terrific. I know some kids who would love this one. Thanks for the review.

  8. Since I tend to avoid realistic novels, I haven't read any of Reynolds' books, but so many people are loving them I think I should probably see what all the fuss is about! This one has a great first line—definitely makes me want to read more.


Youse got something to say? Well, say it then. (The Don and I will shoot you... a personal reply, that is. But if we can't find your e-mail, we'll just reply in the comment box.)