For Ages: 10 - 99
A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?
  • Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | 
  • 192 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481450157 | 
  • August 2016 | 
  • Grades 5 and up
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Track, Book One: Ghost

By Jason Reynolds

About the Book

Castle Cranshaw (nicknamed Ghost) learned how fast he could run the night his father was arrested. Running is never something he plans to do, just like he never plans to get into altercations at school. Running just happens. Then, one day, Ghost comes across a practice in the park and decides to race one of the sprinters, a decision that leads him to join Coach Brody’s elite track team: the Defenders. Coach Brody takes a chance on Ghost and gives him a future to run toward, but only if Ghost can learn to let go of the things he’s been running from.

Discussion Questions

1. The cover of Ghost includes this question: Running for his life, or from it? Explain the role that running plays in Ghost’s life. Why does he start running? How does his reason for running change?

2. What memory is triggered about Ghost’s dad from the sunflower seeds? How does this flashback help develop Ghost’s character? What other things bring back memories of his father? Are any of his memories positive?

3. Initially, what sport is Ghost interested in playing? Why isn’t he interested in track? What do you think makes him decide to race Lu?

4. Consider the connotations of the word defender. What does it mean to be a defender? Many of the characters in the nov see more

More Books from this Author

Long Way Down
All American Boys
As Brave As You

About the Author

Jason Reynolds
Ben Fractenberg

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. Reynolds was the American Booksellers Association’s 2017 spokesperson for Indies First, and will serve as the national spokesperson for the 2018 celebration of School Library Month in April 2018, sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Jason’s many works of fiction include When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black SuitAll American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave As You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at