Book - 2016
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Dec 14, 2018

“Trouble is, you can't run away from yourself." Coach snatched the towel from his shoulder, folded into a perfect square, and set it in the space between us. "Unfortunately," he said, "ain't nobody that fast.”

Castle "Ghost" Crenshaw drags you into his running story from the very first couple of chapters and does not let you go all the way till the last - breath-holding - page of this book. I sat down to read it and when I looked up - I felt like I was the one who had run the sprint. This book is great reminder of what an activity that your passionate about, can do for a young kid - if focused into the right way. If you really liked this book, please read the next one in the series. This book leaves you with a cliffhanger and if you want to know what happens next so you can finally breath again - the next one is definitely a book you should put on your list.

Dec 13, 2018

Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw has been running most of his young life, ever since his father tried to shoot him and his mother one drunken night. He’s good at it, but his true dream is being a basketball star. After defeating the fastest kid at a closed track practice, he’s invited to join the team on one condition: no more trouble at school or otherwise. He finds he really likes running, but will one bad decision ruin his chances of running in his first meet? Able to connect to teens of all ages, Ghost questions short vs long term happiness and can help readers make that decision for themselves.

mko123 Nov 18, 2018

Ghost,a middle schooler in the inner city, has a dark secret aboutwhere he got his nick-name and his speed as runner. When he is given a chance to run on a team at a wealthy prep school, he is expected to follow high standards of behavior, on and off the track. But
only two weeks in, and Ghost messes up big time. However, Coach believes in Ghost, even if Ghost can't believe in himself. The author is sparing of words but he goes deep. I highly recommend anything by this young and gifted writer.

Nov 17, 2018

Fun, easy read with lots of depth; possibly targeted to a teen audience

Oct 17, 2018

A great story (unrealized running skills, athletic skills) and great character choice (young man in school from poor neighborhood), but author is a poor writer and doesn't yet have the wordsmith skills to get us interested in finding out how this young protagonist makes his way to his own dreams and successes. Strangely enough, a less described character - the mother of the young man - is much more interesting, much better described with only a line or two. The young man seems a bit dull and week, but his mother sounds powerful, funny, and a wonderful person.

JCLBeckyC Oct 16, 2018

This is a fast-paced book also manages to be full of nuance and thoughtful undertones. Every single kid in my Afterschool Book Club (ages 9-12) liked this book, many loved it. Highly recommended for reluctant readers or anyone looking for an inspirational story set in the inner city.

Banks_SusanC Oct 02, 2018

The first in the Track series, this is a great read. The characters are well-drawn and believable and it gave me an insight into track that I'd not had.

Sep 10, 2018

My 7th grader and I both picked out this book without realizing it. It is so well-written and catches your attention. The author is clearly also a runner, because he gets the lingo & the feeling of running a race, passing a batton and finding your place on a team.

ArapahoeErinR May 14, 2018

Castle Crenshew aka Ghost has had a tough time and makes a few bad choices, but with the right adult influences and running in his life can he start to turn things around?

Apr 10, 2018

i think that the book was pretty good but the ending was so bad

Mark_Daly Aug 15, 2017

Young readers may find this story both thrilling and reassuring -- the rule-breaking seventh-grade hero makes a slew of poor choices, but the adults in his life continue to nurture him.

Jason Reynolds is quickly becoming one of the best storytellers in Children's/ YA lit. Ghost is no exception and at times feels reminiscent of Walter Dean Myers. But make no mistake, Castle is a unique character and I can't wait to see the rest of the story unfold.

Also great on audio.

May 27, 2017

What a terrible ending….it is forcing me to read the next book in the series to find out if Ghost wins his race. Okay, not such a terrible ending, but a great hook to get those non-readers into the next book. Ghost hasn’t had the best life. His temper gets him into a lot of trouble at school. The elderly grocery store owner sort of serves as a grandfather to him, and a chance meeting with a taxi driver who is a track coach helps him find focus for his actions. I just read this to get a taste of the series, but I now have to read the whole series Tracks.

LPL_LaurenT Apr 21, 2017

Castle Crenshaw has had a rocky go of it: he’s picked on at school, his parents have split, and money is tight. But Castle aka Ghost is fast. After running for his life, Ghost has acquired a “scream inside him” and speed which attracts the eye of the coach of the local track club. Ghost soon finds out that running isn’t only for getting away from your problems. I wanted this to be more of a book about running (former track runner here!), but I ultimately felt like this book needed a little more character development to knock my socks off.

kirstd31 Apr 07, 2017

Fun read! Castle loves to run. The only problem is he is trying to outrun his problems, until he meets Coach Otis and discovers what a team is.

SnoIsleLib_MonicaJ Mar 22, 2017

My 13 year old son and I read this aloud together and both enjoyed this story in the voice of Castle Crenshaw, AKA Ghost, who struggles with middle school, anger, impulsiveness and family problems. He finds a place on the track team and is pushed by an amazing coach who expects the best of him on and off the track.

Mar 11, 2017

A great book for a teenage person who is sorta into running, and winning.
A quick read.

ArapahoeBetsy Feb 09, 2017

Ghost Cranshaw knows what he's running from (a traumatic childhood) but it isn't always clear what he's running toward. Is success really a possibility for someone like him? Can he make something out of his natural talent or will his anger issues get in the way? Upper elementary and middle school readers will understand why Ghost makes certain decisions - and will find themselves rooting for him and his track teammates. First in a new series, too, so there is more to come!

ArapahoeMary Jan 28, 2017

Castle "Ghost" Cranshaw has had a difficult past, which has resulted in the development of his natural ability to run really, really fast. He's quick to anger which often leads to challenges with a bully in school who's determined to point out Ghost's failings. But when he decides to crash local youth track team's practice and makes the team, he may just have found his way past his challenges - if they don't catch up to him. Accessible, powerful and, ultimately, hopeful. Appropriate for upper elementary and middle school; has some scary flashback scenes involving a gun and domestic violence.

VaughanPLRachelP Jan 03, 2017

Castle Cranshaw (goes by Ghost) doesn't have an easy life. His dad is in jail, and his mom tries to be there for him but she works full time and is going to school to try and give Ghost a better life. Kids in school make fun of him for his hand-me-downs and his haircut (which his mom gives him). But then he discovers running, and makes new friends on his track team. Is that enough for Ghost to outrun his past? This book deals with tough issues like bullying, poverty, and gun violence in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner. Recommended for kids 10+.

JCLChrisK Dec 14, 2016

Highly accessible and relatable. Will appeal to both kids and their adults.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Dec 07, 2016

This book deals with heavy topics, including poverty and gun violence, but Reynolds really skillfully manages to navigate this without making the book too dark. It's a short, quick read about an underprivileged kid who joins a track team and develops a sort of father-son relationship with his coach, but this familiar material never feels trite or emotionally manipulative. Ghost's voice feels authentic, and Reynolds mixes humor with more serious moments so that the stakes feel real, but never overwhelming. Highly recommended!

Oct 05, 2016

This is an inspiring story, tells how interconnected we all are despite our differences in social status and ethnicity, how to love ourselves and others by leaving fear behind against all odds.

Despite a great storyline, its painstakingly detailed description of minute events, at times, induce boredom. However, this is from my point of view as an adult reader which is not the intended audience of the book.

Sep 29, 2016

Masterful writing with an insightful look at a young lower class black boy running track. This book is so well written every break in grammar is purposeful and with intent. To put you into the situation and feel the character. So many of our young men are angry, especially young black ones. This book capsules why. The limits that are imposed upon them, the ones that ignore their plight and their desperate grab to create their own identity without guidance. One reviewer put out that diversity can be more than just about race, it can also be about social and economic standing. I highly recommend this book. Quick read. Focused plot. Good tension. Layered characters. Beautiful writing. Sample SPOILER teaser: the book opens and closes with a gunshot. :D :D :D

I completely loved what this book stands for. A window into someone who is poor, but can become rich if someone simply takes the time to understand.

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