Ghost (Track#1) by Jason Reynolds is a realistic fiction novel. Castle Crenshaw calls himself Ghost (although no one else does) when he ran as a fast as a ghost when his father chased him and his mother with a gun and they had to hid in their favorite store-owners walk-in refrigerator like they were ghosts. Ghost has a lot to be scared of and mad about. The kids at school make fun of him because his mom buys him clothes he can grow into since they don’t have money, he lives in the Glass Mansion projects, and the only food they have is from the hospital cafeteria his mom brings home after her shifts. Ghost is really upset. He loves his mom and wants her to be happy and finish nursing school night classes so she can do what she wants and make enough money to get buy. He wants to move out of the stigmatized apartments and get some clothes that don’t make him look like a foster kid. And he’s so mad about it, he usually gets into fights (“altercations” as the principal calls it) with the kids that make fun of them. And Ghost is always the one getting punished for it.

When Ghost happens upon a track practice where an albino African American kid is speeding down the track to plenty of fanfare, Ghost points his anger at showing this guy up. He could run faster in his baggy jeans and hightops. Ghost passes the kid on the track even though the coach is yelling that it’s a private practice. All of a sudden, the coach wants to put Ghost on the team. This isn’t your average the-Black-kid-is-good-at-sports book and it saves him. The coach does beg Ghost and his mother to let Ghost join the team. However, Coach turns out to be a great mentor in Ghost’s life, not to mention the free rides home in his cab and the second chances when Ghost keeps getting in altercations. I love how their relationship develops and Coach shows Ghost that people are there for him and understand him and believe in him. Coach understands that Ghost isn’t a bad person and that everyone makes mistakes and has a past. I effing loved this book.

I like that this book isn’t about the Black kid trying to get out of the ghetto. Of course, they are, but it feels more like a family story with all of the heart-warming relationships. You can feel the age of this kid. He is still a kid. He makes kid mistakes and thinks kid things. This is a character-oriented book rather than one of action. There are a lot of internal struggles with how to handle situations. But Ghost made it a feel-good story by learning to make the right choices.

Although I really didn’t like that it ended in a cliff-hanger at the start of his first track meet! I know it’s a series but come on people! I will definitely be reading the next book.

And of course, the award-winning audio was amazing. It’s the same narrator as Jason Reynold’s other book All-American Boys.