Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost (Track, #1)Ghost by Jason Reynolds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Castle Crenshaw, who calls himself Ghost, is a kid who gets himself into trouble. And that trouble makes this book hard for me to read – I put this slim volume down countless times while cringing as Ghost does something he knows he shouldn’t. Still, I had to finish this compelling story.

Ghost is a kid who can run like the wind, a kid who has caught the eye of a track coach, a kid who has no gym shorts, no gym shoes.

Ghost is a kid who lives in the projects, a kid whose dad tried to kill him and his mom, a kid whose dad is in prison, a kid who has a lot of anger inside of him.

Ghost is a kid with a mom who has ambitions to make their lives better.

First in a series.

The Running Dream

The Running DreamThe Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five, five, five,…. Loved it!
Sometimes I read things without paying attention to them…I read this title a couple times, read a couple of reviews, saw that the reviews were compelling, then, finally, the title caught my eye!
Did you ever have a running dream? I wondered if Jessica’s running dream was anything like my own. As soon as I started reading, I realized that her running dream was probably vastly different from my own. In mine, I wake up on a bright, sunny morning. I put on my workout clothes, have a light breakfast, warm up, stretch, and start to run. My legs are pumping. My arms are moving. Then, I find out I am not making any headway – because my feet are not touching the ground! As hard as I try to make my feet get to the pavement – I cannot do it. I usually wake up at this point.
Of course, Jessica’s running dream is something she thinks she won’t ever realize again. Due to her tragedy, she meets a new friend with a completely different kind of running dream.  No more details – that would give everything away!

The Extra Yard

The Extra YardThe Extra Yard by Mike Lupica

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has everything!

1) Friendship Four good friends help one another and are supportive without being fake and annoying. Author Lupica does a great job with this, giving kids characters who are modeling good friendship techniques.

Teddy is the boy from The Only Game whom Jack befriended and helped become an athlete and star catcher for their little league baseball team. Over the rest of the summer, Jack and Teddy continued their friendship and workouts – now concentrating on football.

2)Football Teddy has never played football and is very nervous about tryouts. Jack says he is ready! And this is Teddy’s dream – to play this sport.

3)Family Teddy has no memory of his dad living with him and his mom. Guess who shows up a couple of days before tryouts? His dad returns to town to take a nearby job. It turns out he was the star quarterback on Teddy’s school team many years ago with Teddy’s football coach – ugh! A little pressure?

How will Teddy handle football and having his (football loving) dad back in his life?

Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point

Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West PointSoldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point by Joe Drape
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great non-fiction writing! Joe Drape has captured the spirit of West Point and the special place Coach Ellerson has in the faculty – honoring academics, and leadership and military training, before Division I football. What other college sports program can say anything similar?

Ellerson’s coaching style may need a couple of more seasons to show success on the field, but the young men he leads each year are fortunate to have him now. He allows football to be fun, although demanding; he adjusts practices to accomodate the cadets’ rigorous academic requirements.

I love college football. This is inspiring reading, especially after the recent Penn State atrocities.

Beat Navy!