This book is so good!
I discovered Jason Reynolds about a year ago when I read Long Way Down, which I loved. I’m not sure how Ghost got on my radar (probably Goodreads), but because I love Reynolds, I decided to give it a try. It’s not very long, but I still knew I wouldn’t get around to reading it, so I listened to the audiobook, which is fantastic. Guy Lockard is the narrator and he did an excellent job of sounding like a teenager, especially the parts when Castle (the main character) is talking about things that genuinely confuse him (and they’re things that tend to be pretty confusing to teenagers, so Reynolds deserves at least as much credit as Lockard).
Castle (nicknamed Ghost) decides to head to the track one day after school. He’s just hanging out, watching the practice and decides he can run faster than everyone there, so he puts down his bag of sunflower seeds and runs alongside one of the runners to show what he can do. The result ends up being too close to call, so the coach asks who Ghost is training with and finds it hard to believe he can run that fast without any training. He tells Ghost to come back the next day for practice, but Ghost says his mom would never let him join the track team (she wants him to devote his efforts getting good grades). Coach says he can talk her into letting Ghost join the team and (much to Ghost’s surprise) he succeeds (on a trial basis).
It turns out Ghost is so good at running because he’s had to ever since he was a little kid. His abusive dad went after him and his mom with a gun one night and they had to literally make a run for it. The ran to the local convenience store where they hide out in the back room until the police managed to arrest Ghost’s dad. His dad is now in prison and his mom is working at the local hospital while putting herself through nursing school. Dinner is usually whatever was being served at the hospital.
Ghost is pretty cocky, but he quickly learns how hard the runners on the track team work to up their game. He realizes he’s not dressed for the team so he goes to buy himself a pair of running shoes, which of course he can’t afford, so he steals them. Coach finds out about it and cuts him from the team. Ghost promises to make it up to him so Coach takes him back to the store, makes him apologize, pays for the shoes for him, and Ghost has to clean out Coach’s car (which is a pretty monumental/disgusting task) and Coach eventually lets him back on the team.
I could not get enough of this audiobook and I am super psyched to read more books by Reynolds.
What did you read this week? Anything else by a favorite author?