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Published: 7 Feb 2019

Paperback / softback

Recommended for age 9+ and 11+

By Jason Reynolds

Illustrated by Selom Sunu

Published by Knights Of Media

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Running. That's all Ghost has ever known. But he's been running for all the wrong reasons - until he meets Coach who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, 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?

Tagged running and top pick

The Run series


Reviewed by Literacy for Pleasure

“Trouble is, you can’t run away from yourself.”

This is a short novel about a talented boy (Ghost) struggling to come to terms with his troubled past as he trains as a runner in a local team.

I found the novel a real page-turner. There is plenty of action, the pace never falters, and the story builds to an exciting climax on the last few pages.The author skillfully uses the theme of running as a metaphor for Ghost’s emotional journey towards self-ease and self-empowerment. On the way, Ghost comes to understand his ‘internal anger’, and channels and shapes it to find stability and a sense of purpose.

The story plays out in the context of Ghost’s training as a runner, adding a whole new layer of interest as the techniques and strategies linked to competitive running are explained, and the necessary mental and physical pain, drive and endurance are vividly described. (I loved the film Chariots of Fire for many of  the same reasons, though I have never taken to the track myself!)

Ghost narrates his own story. He comes across as a wholly engaging character, honest and self-aware, ruefully and sometimes humorously commenting on himself. Young readers will respond to and empathise with him; some will doubtless connect with and recognise his feelings as an outsider.

I can thoroughly recommend this novel to all readers of nine years and above, runners and non-runners alike. And I will undoubtedly read the next book in the Run series, to be published this summer. It’s about one of the girl runners in the team, all of whom are as sympathetic as Ghost himself.

You might like to listen to our podcast with Jason Reynolds

Phil Ferguson and Ross Young are teachers who write under the name of Literacy for Pleasure and help curate the Twitter group #WritingRocks.
They have a long-standing interest in children's literature and in the quality of the class library.

The BAME authors set