Reynolds, Jason. Ghost: Track: Book 1. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016.
image from: www.simonandschuster.com
Plot Summary (from www.Simonandshuster.com
Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.
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—it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life.
I hadn't read anything by Jason Reynolds before this book (even though I'd planned to before seeing him at NTTBF). Reynolds is a thoughtful speaker, so I was happy to buy his latest book (and get him to sign it!). I was excited that it was a track story because I don't have very many in my library.
This is the story of Ghost (a self given nickname). As someone who kinda runs and has never had formal training, I'm glad Reynolds explained the track terminology and workouts. As Ghost learned about training, so did I. I actually thought about copying some of the things down for my own workouts.
This is a quick read geared to middle grade, but I can think of some high schoolers who will enjoy it, too. I really liked that the coach was a positive role model and seemed to genuinely understand, love and push his team. I also felt such empathy for Ghost because I knew that he really wanted to make "good" choices, but it seemed circumstances got in the way. I know so many kids who deal (or not) with similar situations.
The story has some real, emotional struggles, but there is also humor, including the chapter titles!
I'm not sure what I want to write about with this book except I hated the ending---only because it sets up the next book and that won't come out for awhile (I'd read somewhere August 2017).