Ghost by Jason Reynolds
For Castle 'Ghost' Cranshaw, running is everything. Ever since an incident with his dad resulted in running saving his life, it has been the one thing he can count on getting right. He can't get in trouble for running like he does for being angry at school, or be picked on by other kids for not having the newest clothes, and he'd like to think that he's good enough at running to one day break a record, much like one of the many amazing (and sometimes bizarre) people in Ghost's much loved Guinness World Records book. So when one day he finds a group of kids about to practice running, he's intrigued but also confused, because for Ghost, running is something he simply does, it's not something he has to try at.
Ghost informally tries out for the running team (and by informally I mean he races along the sidelines against the one boy who he thinks is the fastest) and next thing he knows the Coach is asking him all kinds of questions, like who does he run for, who trained him, and would Ghost like to join the team?! Again, Ghost is confused because running is running is running; why does it require training, or - good grief - why would you want to exhaust yourself by warming up first?
As Ghost finds himself on the team, he soon discovers a whole world of running that he knew nothing of before, and starts to make friends with his new teammates. But as his running begins to take off, not everything else seems to be clicking into place, and Ghost will have to figure out how to keep everything on track - including himself.
I loved this book: it was full of great characters who I cared so much for, and a plot that gripped me from the first page and kept pace (sorry, pun unintended) throughout. Perfect for contemporary fans, reluctant readers, and for both those who love sports and those who don't, Ghost was a brilliant read that should grace the shelves of all. Selom Sunu's cover illustration makes it eye catching and a standout on the shelf, and I can't wait to read more of Ghost and the team in the rest of the series. With the second book, Patina, coming out in August, now is the perfect time to get track-side...