Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Meet Castle Cranshaw, seventh-grade student with a past that he cannot escape "my dad's in jail for trying to shoot me and my mother", an anger that fuels his days "And I didn't feel nothing either. I just lifted my arms, fists tight, and lowered them like hammers onto Brandon's face.", and a natural talent for running. "Yeah, he can run. Like, really run."
Here's the good news, no actually the terrific news about Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Nine Reasons to read Ghost
- It's for middle grader readers. This is a "sweet spot" for creating life-long readers.
- It's the first in a series. A great series will keep young readers coming back for more.
- It's a quick read. Coming in at 180 pages, the size is not overwhelming. (Try the old booktalk trick of casually rotating the book to reveal the width of the spine, in this case it measures half an inch.)
- The cover is terrific. Love the yellow. Love the font, hinting both at the word "Ghost" and at running. Love the figure flying off the edge of the book, old shoes left behind.
- The storyline is compelling. While readers can probably figure out where the story is heading and how it will resolve, some of the revelations are startling and will keep readers turning pages.
- The pacing is excellent. There are short snappy chapters which feel like sprints. Some of the chapters go the longer distance and build slowly.
- The ending is satisfying but definitely whets interest in what will happen next.
- Without question, it's Cas aka Ghost who is the best part of the book. His voice is so authentic. His world, both the face he presents on the outside and his private inner struggle are clearly evident.
- While I have no idea what it would be like to live in a neighborhood like Glass Manor, what it would be like to live with so much pain and anger, Cas makes it real. And in a way that I cannot completely comprehend, I relate to him and his life. Reynolds' writing draws me in.