Friday, October 23, 2020

Audiobook All-Time Favorites #2: Ghost

 If you're looking for a really great audiobook, the kind of read that makes you glad you chose to listen because the narration really adds so much to the story, it's time for my next audiobook all-time favorite: 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds, narrated by Guy Lockard. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2016. 3 hours 29 minutes. Sequels: Patina (narrated by Heather Alicia Simms), Sunny & Lu (both also narrated by Guy Lockard)

If you've read anything by Jason Reynolds, you know that he's a master of voice. His characters leap off the page and tell you their stories in completely believable voices. So he's a natural fit for audiobooks and this series is one of my favorites. Each volume in the Track series stands alone, focusing on one member of an urban track team, a group of kids with very little in common except their sport and their dedication to the team. 

In this first volume, Castle Crenshaw (or Ghost, as he wants to be called) knows he can run fast. He knows because when his dad came at him and his mother on one violent night, running was the only way to get away. Life hasn't been super kind to Ghost - the kids at school make fun of him because he's poor and he carries around the weight of his father's betrayal. When Ghost stumbles onto a local track team and decides to show them a thing or two (they think they can run?!), Coach takes him into the fold. Suddenly, Ghost starts to know what it's like to be part of something bigger than yourself, to have a strong male role model who really cares about him, to work at something and get better and feel proud. But to stay on the track team, Ghost is going to have to steer clear of what his mom calls "altercations", which means keeping his temper when the other kids are giving him a hard time. Could Ghost's bad decisions take away his track star dreams forever?

This series is sure to be a hit with young athletes, but I am far from an athlete and I found myself absolutely drawn in by the compelling characters. I loved learning their stories, particularly in the volumes narrated by Guy Lockard. Lockard reads with a vibrancy that really brings each character to life. Jason Reynolds and Guy Lockard have been friends for decades, so Lockard is a natural fit for these audiobooks. He knows these characters and knows their cadences and how they should be portrayed and it absolutely comes through in his work. I think Sunny is my very favorite of the series, but they're all excellent stories. 

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