Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ghost -Track #1 by Jason Reynolds*

Castle Cranshaw can run but does not for a team.  One night in a drunken rage, his dad tries to shoot him and his mother.  They run for their lives, hiding in Mr. Charles' store's stock room.  Even though his dad is in jail, he sleeps on the living room floor to protect his mom and so he can run out the door at a moment's notice.  At school he endures cruel taunts about his too big clothes and where he lives (Glass Manor).  He rarely experiences a day without an altercation at school.
Then one day he observes a track team practicing running (he never knew running was a sport!), and the coach offers him the opportunity to be part of the team.  If only he can stay out of trouble, he may begin to see that running can actually help him heal and deal with his circumstances.
I like Coach's advice on pg. 155 ". . . you can't run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be."
I loved reading a book that exalts running and track/field (very rare!) and the benefits of being part of a team.  Readers will want to know more about each track/field member's story and realize each person has a story and depth.
This book reveals the hardship lower income families and inner city children face on a regular basis.
Castle (aka Ghost) tells his story so the grammar and sentence structure is how he would say it so grammar nazis will cringe.  The voice is very authentic and effective.
*Highly recommend for older, mature readers (see warnings).
-Borrowed from the library.
Warnings: violence (his father tries to shoot him and his mother), lying, shop lifting, bullies, drug dealers are mentioned and the fact there are drug deals going on is treated as normal (which is authentic to the setting).

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