Reynolds, Jason. (2016). Ghost. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press. 246 pages.
Audience – Grades 6+
Kayla Hlad (she/her)
MLIS Student, Kent State University iSchool
In Ghost, Castle (AKA Ghost) finds a new passion, friends, hope, and his own greatness in a place he never thought to look: the track. Castle knows he can run; when his father threatened him and his mother with a gun, he relied on those feet. But even with this natural speed, his experience on the Defenders track team is not without its hurdles.
A National Book Award Finalist in 2016, Ghost is just one of Jason Reynolds’ many works that have received recognition within the world of youth literature. Its triumphant narrative is perfect for middle schoolers, especially any young boy of color who too rarely sees an image of himself empathetically and realistically portrayed in text. The thought processes, life story, interests, and values are highly relatable, and Castle is a character that anyone can get behind. His mistakes are depicted with nuance and understanding, and the pure joy he experiences at moments of triumph are contagious. The line spacing, length of the chapters, and pacing are all perfect for the young teen reader. The conflict resolution will also be to most tweens’ tastes‒the main character doesn’t have to dwell in their mistakes for too long and the consequences are fair. It’s so engaging, most readers won’t want to stop with Ghost. Lucky for them, there are three more novels in this series!