Thursday, December 15, 2016


Ghost. Jason Reynolds. 2016. 192 pages. [Source: Library]

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


Julia Snyder,  4:13 PM  

This book looks so good, my young reader will be loving it! Right now he's reading The Boy and the Dolphin which he absolutely loves. It's by Dick Schmidt, My son loves the sea and aviation so I feel this was written just for him!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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