The book and movie are very similar. The book has more details especially at the neighborhood dinner. I liked the book better than the movie. The movie is set back in the 1950's. I didn't take note to that when I read the book. I read the book first. The DVD has so many subtle signs that it takes place over 70 years ago. The female character is a strong, independent woman.
Are you passionate about a sport? Sometimes your desire to compete in one sport can lead you into enjoying another sport. This Young Adult fictional story is overflowing with action, friendship, bullying, family dynamics, positive role models, character traits, and natural talent in a sport.
Ghost, Sunny, Lu, and Patina are four young, diverse teenagers with natural talent and a desire to improve on the track. Ghost a.k.a. Castle Cranshaw, the main character in this fast paced story is passionate about knowing specific World Records and possibly setting one himself. He enjoys watching and playing basketball. As a typical teen, he is not eager to go home, and hangs out around town and at the track. One day, he walks up to the starting line and runs with the track team. The coach is impressed and encourages Ghost to try out for the team. Ghost thinks running might help him get better at basketball so he sticks with it. He runs in his old, no name sneakers and hopes to have new, shiny track shoes like his teammates.
Ghost is a likable character even though his life is in chaos and he cannot see a way out of constant punishment. He makes several irresponsible mistakes that become life lessons. Will these numerous mistakes prevent him from running in the big race at school? He hopes to run in the important race with an audience including his mother, aunt and cousin. He has not seen his father in years because he is in jail for domestic abuse. Ghost and his Mother ran from the abuse and into the life of Mr. Charles, a store owner and neighbor who teaches Ghost about being a hardworking citizen. Ghost is running at school from his many fights and mishaps with the school bully. He is running around town, running from his problems, avoiding going home. Luckily for Ghost, he has two strong, positive, male role models in his life who help teach him how to become a respectful young man, and how he can make better choices for his future. The first role model is Mr. Charles who helps hid Ghost and his mother from the abusive father. The second is his track coach, Coach Brody who helps him learn life lessons so he can become a respectful person. Coach Brody shares with Ghost that he too grew up in an impoverished neighborhood but he didn’t let it define him. He worked hard and made a good life for himself and his family. Coach Brody encourages Ghost to make good choices so he can be proud of himself.
This encouraging story is appropriate for young children ages 9 and up. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. The part I liked the most was the positive role models that entered Ghost’s life and helped teach him to make better decisions. I liked the part when the coach took the new track members to dinner for team bonding. I look forward to reading the other three books in the series including Sunny, Patina, and Lu.