Reynold’s book follows the story of Ghost, real name Castle Cranshaw. He stumbles upon The Defenders, an elite running team, one day as he wanders around his neighbourhood, meeting Coach, who recognises his natural talent for sprinting. Ghost joins the team with the other newbies Lu, Patina and Sunny, but needs to stay on the straight and narrow to keep his place.
This is an exciting, well-written novel with a diverse cast of characters. I felt pity for, was maddened by and proud of Ghost, often all at once! The novel deals with the trauma of Ghost’s past sensitively, neither dismissing it nor over-dramatizing it. The range of well-developed secondary characters, particularly Coach, Ghost’s mother and Mr Charles, are a valuable addition to the story.
The story is told from Ghost’s point of view, and the language is colloquial and easy to follow. This works well, letting the reader contrast people’s expectations of Ghost with what is going on in his read. It turns what could be a sullen character into a sympathetic and humorous one. Initially, I found his walks around his neighbourhood and his inner dialogue a little long, but I think it is necessary as it sets up the rest of the story, which becomes more action filled. The story ends on a cliff-hanger, and I will certainly be buying the next book in the Track series. It is for confident readers, but I think slightly younger readers could enjoy it once they are prepared to cope with Ghost’s difficult past. This is a brilliant book about thriving beyond the expectations both yourself and others have for you, and I would highly recommend it.