In Which a Ghost Runs From Himself

“And it felt good to feel like one of the teammates. Like I was there-really there-as me, but without so much scream inside.”

Castle Cranshaw, a.k.a. Ghost, can run. It’s something he’s been doing for much of his life, but now that he’s joined a track team it’s not just about running anymore. Can he let go of his anger and his past enough to be a part of the team?

Ghost is the first book in the new Track series by Jason Reynolds. Jason Reynolds is one of my favorite authors so I was excited to read this book. I haven’t reviewed any if his books on the blog yet, but my favorites are coming soon, I decided to start with this one as it was the most recent one I’ve read.

Let’s talk aesthetics first: if you’ve read any of my other book reviews then you know that I love minimalist cover designs. This yellow background with the black lettering looks so sleek. Plus, I love the rippled effect of the letters as Ghost runs by.

Written in first person point of view, this book allowed me to easily connect with Ghost’s voice. He’s hilarious, blunt, and reminds me of people I know. I definitely cringed many times because he would do stupid things, but that was part of his character arc and made for a satisfying ending.

Another character I appreciated was the coach known as…Coach. He genuinely cared about Ghost not only as a runner but as a person. Ghost’s “squad” also cared about him, their relationship started out rocky but they grew closer, and I’m hoping that in the next book there will be more of them together.

I wish there would have been more scenes with Ghost and his mom, we heard about their relationship but didn’t see much of it. A tragic event led them closer together and I would’ve loved to see the effects of it further explored. This narrative was well-written and the cast of characters were the standout piece.

Ghost’s life events are quite complicated, he often feels less than because of where he lives, who he is, and what he’s been through. Thus, this book explores whether the end justifies the means in certain scenarios in Ghost’s life. It asks hard questions about whether the wrong thing is still wrong even if the motives were right. Personally, I don’t identify with the “end justifies the means” perspective. Sin is sin and what’s illegal is illegal, end of story. Most times when we’re being honest with ourselves, the right reason we have for doing wrong can be achieved by doing right. This was the case with Ghost, as you’ll find when you read the book. I was quite satisfied with the resolution and the overall story. I definitely recommend it.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

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