Ghost [Book Review] #MiddleGradeMarch

March 25, 2022

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Bonus: 10+ Favorite Middle Grade Reads!

(top view) picture of a middle grade child reading on a recliner covered with a reddiish knitted afghan

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (cover) Black text on a yellow background....a young African American boy is running off the page

Genre/Categories: Middle Grade Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Reads (African-American), Sports (Track and Field)

My Summary:

Castle Cranshaw, aka “Ghost,” loves to run. One day, he challenges an elite sprinter to a race and wins which gains the attention of a track and field coach. Believing Ghost has natural talent, coach invites him to join his track team. Although Ghost can run, he also has a lot of anger, is often in trouble at school, and has a complicated family life. Can he become part of the team or will his behavior choices hold him back?

Silver running shoes

My Thoughts:

Middle Grade Appeal:

  • engaging from page one
  • a likable main character with a strong voice
  • sports (coed team)
  • teamwork
  • kid-friendly tone
  • realistic dialogue
  • relatable struggles
  • first in a series
  • diverse read (racial and economic)

So Much to Love:

  • I love a well-written MG story, and this checks all the boxes for one of my favorites! When I read MG, I try to read and rate it from a young reader’s perspective. Ghost is engaging and page turning from beginning to end and will hold the interest of a young reader.
  • I love that Ghost and the rest of the books in the series focuses on sports, teamwork, friendship, and sportsmanship.
  • I love a diverse read (racial and economic) where young readers can view life from a different perspective and/or see themselves. (books are a mirror or a window analogy)
  • I love the nurturing adults in the story (Mom, Coach, and Mr. Charles)
  • I love that the story is realistic and addresses trauma, yet gently told.
  • I love that the main character is multilayered…..both good and poor choices made.
  • I love the theme of dealing with anger (and the metaphor used).
  • I love the friendship (teamwork), mother/son, and coach/team themes
  • I love that it’s the first in a loosely connected four-part series.

Content Consideration: domestic violence (appropriately told)

Recommended: Ghost (and the series) is highly recommended for Middle Grade readers (especially if they love track and field) and for fans of MG literature. Ghost would be enjoyable as a parent/child buddy read (lots of discussion possibilities) or an appreciated gift. Run, don’t walk, to read this for yourself!

***Scroll down for my 10+ favorite recommendable middle grade books!

My Rating:  5 Stars


Ghost by Jason Reynolds (cover) Black text on a yellow background....a young African American boy is running off the page

Ghost Information Here

Other books in the series: Patina, Sunny, and Lu

Meet the Author, Jason Reynolds

Author JasonThe first name bits:

What Jason knows is that there are a lot — A LOT — of people, young, old, and in-between, who hate reading. He knows that many of these book haters are boys. He knows that many of these book-hating boys, don’t actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you’re reading this Jason’s master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that Jason totally feels you. He REALLY does. Because even though he’s a writer, he hates reading boring books too.

So here’s what he plans to do: NOT WRITE BORING BOOKS.

That’s it, and that’s all.

Now, for the last name bits:

Jason Reynolds is an award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Correta Scott King Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His latest book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is a collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi. Recently named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at

Meet the Author (in his own words


10+ Favorite Recommendable Middle Grade Reads:

The Ghost “Track Series”
The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won
Isaiah Dunn is My Hero
Refugee (mature MG)
The Next Great Jane
Inside Out and Back Again (scroll down page)
Other Words For Home
Amal Unbound
Stella by Starlight
Jefferson’s Sons

+ 4 more!

Merci Suarez Changes Gears
More to the Story
Crenshaw (scroll down page)
Brown Girl Dreaming


Is Ghost on your TBR or have you read it?
Do you have a favorite Middle Grade Read?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. Fabulous post! I love MG reads, they are always so meaningful and carry such important messages!

  2. I’ve loved some of his other books! They’re so powerful. I bet these are the same!

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