Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Castle who nicknamed himself Ghost has a routine. After visiting Mr. Charles’ store for his usual purchase of sunflower seeds, he stands out on the street and looks through the window of the local gym to enjoy the people on the stair-stepper who don’t look like they’re having fun. They keep climbing but they aren’t going anywhere.
Another part of his routine is sleeping in the living room close to the door so he can get out of their apartment fast if he needs to. His memory of the night when his mother wrenched him from his sleep and hid him in the back room at Mr. Charles’ store haunts him. His world hasn’t been safe since they went on the run and his own father fired a gun in their direction.
Right now the world looks pretty small. There are little boxes where Castle steps and stays whether it’s at school where he defends his honor over and over and over again or in his own head where he isn’t even sure what questions to ask himself. He has the local basketball court to dream about; he has school that he doesn’t really connect with; he has his mother.
Today though is different. Sunflower seeds in his pocket he follows his usual trail to the park. Sometimes he scouts the basketball court to see who is playing. But today it’s a group of kids around his age who are running for sport. They’re a team and they’re having fun. These kids aren’t running away from their memories or their sorrows.
Determined to prove at least to himself that he has what it takes, Castle lines himself up alongside one of the fastest sprinters just as he’s about to take off. The running coach tells Castle he can’t just invite himself to a private practice but Castle isn't fazed. When the sprinter takes off, Castle takes off and he just about beats his opponent.
In his own life built of minutes and hours filled with quicksand Castle tells the coach his name is Ghost. He has always run because someone and something might be after him. His feeling that he has holes in himself and his own memories and the fear that he walks in a world that doesn’t make sense and doesn’t feel friendly is his personal starting gun.
Does he have to keep running that same race? Does he have to stay in the lane of the world where he is constantly proving his own worth, stealing to have what he wants and believing there is no place where he truly can be safe?
The voice of Ghost creates a place where readers can feel understood and seen. Here’s a story that says, “Hey, I see you and I know what you’re going through.” It also offers a chance to find a way out.
Exciting to hear that there will be four voices in this series: Patina, Lu, Sunny and our Ghost.
978-1481450157 190 pages Ages 10-14