First sentence: Check this out. This dude named Andrew Dahl holds the world record for blowing up the most balloons...with his nose.
Premise/plot: Castle Cranshaw (aka GHOST) narrates Jason Reynolds' Ghost. He's a seventh grader who 'accidentally' finds himself on one of the city's greatest track teams, the Defenders. One minute he's watching from the sidelines eating his sunflower seeds, and, the next he's out on the track trying to beat the newbie, Lu, in the 100 meter. At first, before the race, the coach is surprised and unhappy. After the race, the coach is eager to have him on the team. Very eager. Ghost's mom is skeptical about the whole sports team thing. But she reluctantly agrees on one condition: he has to stay out of trouble. (And he has to keep up with his school work.)
My thoughts: The book covers a short span of time--less than month--but from cover to cover it kept me engaged. So engaged that I was upset when it ended. Note I did not say HOW it ended, but that it ended at all. I had become attached to all the characters: Ghost, Lu, Patty, Sunny, and especially the COACH. (I did like his Mom well enough, it's just that she was working so hard and so long--working in the hospital cafeteria, taking nursing classes on the side--that we didn't get a lot of scenes with her. Another notable, for me, was Mr. Charles, the store owner who sheltered Ghost and his mom when they were running for their lives, the man who has remained a part of his life because he sells him sunflower seeds every single day after school.)
To sum it up: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. Even though I don't really "like" sports books. I think those looking for character-driven novels can claim this one. Yet, at the same time, I think maybe just maybe those looking for action-driven novels can equally claim this one.
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews