A Great Series for Young Readers (and Runners)

I just finished reading all four books of Jason Reynolds’ track series. The first revolves around a character who has nicknamed himself Ghost. He’s been running his entire life, but mostly away from things. One day, he runs towards a track team and his life takes a most unexpected turn. He finds purpose and a family on the track. We are also introduced to some great characters and a nice series that young readers, and runners, will definitely enjoy.

Book One – Ghost

As a middle distance runner, this sounded like a book I would enjoy. I had no idea it was a series until the very end of the book. At first, I wasn’t sure of that ending. The story brought us all the way to a championship track meet. After seeing the lead character grow and develop over the course of the novel, I was waiting to see what he did on the track. Instead, the story ended with the sound of the starting pistol.

I didn’t know how I felt about the ending. I wanted to know what happened in that race, but then I thought, it didn’t matter. The story was great and the ending worked. It probably worked even better leaving us a little in the dark.

Book Two – Patina

If you want to know what happened at the championship track meet in the last book, you get the story fairly quickly at the start of this one. In fact, that happens with every book in this series. The stories aren’t about the annual championship meet, not really. They are about the title character and the team. Patina isn’t a new character, we met her in book one. We met Sunny and Lu there too, both of whom get their own book to close out this series.

Book Three – Sunny

This book takes a bit of a left turn for the series when the lead character decides that he really isn’t a runner. The team has become very important to him and he can’t imagine leaving it, but how can you quit running and still be on the track team? Fortunately, the coach has a great idea that respects Sunny’s ambitions and desires.  Ghost and Patina are supportive as well. It’s clear that this team is becoming more than just a group of elite athletes. They have become close friends.

Book Four – Lu

In the first book, Lu was the cocky captain of the team who was against Ghost joining. We get to see him as a more rounded character over the course of the series and learn even more about him here. Just like Sunny, he takes on a different event as well. While Sunny started to throw discus, Lu tackles the hurdles. And just like the first three books, this one ends at the championship meet. However, there is a twist; one that I won’t reveal so you can enjoy this series if you decide to tackle it.

And the winner is . . .

This was a great story and experiencing the books back-to-back-to-back is like reading one novel. Having them broken up into small, stand-alone, stories is perfect for younger readers though. They can jump in wherever they like and if they enjoy one, they can read them all.

My List of 2020 Reads – my annual reading (b)log