This is the incredibly uplifting story of a young teenager who has had a very difficult, heart-breaking start in life, yet through his strength and resilience and the support of some important role models in his life, turns a corner which sees him giving himself the opportunity to realise his potential.
Castle Cranshaw (Ghost) learned to run the day something terrible happened at home so, when he sees another boy on the running track, he is confident he can do better than him, even though he has no training and has never even heard of Usain Bolt! Ghost is soon joining the Defenders track team, coached by Coach Brody who has spotted something in Ghost that he hopes to harness, but it will not be an easy task for him as Ghost has a lot of issues to deal with which makes it difficult for him to trust and to believe in himself.
You can’t run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be.
Ghost is used to people treating him differently as he doesn’t fit in, he gets into trouble in school and makes some poor choices, yet he is an incredibly likeable character, and one who I was rooting for throughout the story. Running becomes an outlet which gives Ghost the impetus he needs to begin to take control of his life. I loved both the male role models in Ghost’s life, Coach Brody and Mr Charles, who gave him the support and encouragement – and the hard messages – he needed.
The strong friendships he develops with the other three newbies on the team – Sunny, Lu and Patina – are wonderful as he feels that he is accepted and belongs within a team. I loved the sense of belonging that Ghost feels as he learns to trust his friends and accept responsibility for his choices, even though this is incredibly difficult for him.
Overall, this is a beautifully heart-warming story told with real heart with an incredibly sympathetic protagonist who battles to overcome the odds stacked against him. I was certainly cheering him on in the final race …