Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw likes sunflower seeds, basketball, and has a lot of “scream inside.” Running fast isn’t something he’s ever had to practice; it’s just something he’s known how to do ever since the night he and his mom had to run for their lives. He doesn’t give this talent a second thought— until the day he crashes a track team practice and the coach asks him to join the lineup. From the first sentence of Ghost (Atheneum, $16.99), the first book in the highly anticipated Track series, Jason Reynolds brings the reader into the fast-paced and impactful story of a young teen chasing his dream while struggling to keep his emotions in check and navigate the consequences of his decisions. Ages 10-14.
Naeem was in middle school when he moved to New York from Bangladesh. Now 18 and in the final quarter of his senior year, his grades have slipped and, like many teenagers, he’s made more than a few mistakes. Threatened with arrest and presented with a choice by local police, Naeem believes he’s being provided an opportunity to switch from victim to hero—but in a time of uncertainty, deception, cultural differences, and constant surveillance, who is truly worthy of his trust? Marina Budhos has crafted a thrilling coming-of-age story that provides a glimpse into the complexities of perception versus reality. Raising more questions than answers, Watched (Wendy Lamb, $17.99) ultimately demands that the reader consider one last query: What would you do? Ages 14-18.
As her father’s funeral and a chance encounter cause a Brooklynite named August to look back on her youth, she reflects upon her relationship with best friends Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi. The playfulness and innocence of their childhood stand in stark contrast to the backdrop of emotion, anxiousness, and ever-present danger inherent in growing up girl in 1970s Brooklyn. Jacqueline Woodson uses her signature lyrical prose and deft storytelling to show how we sometimes live one story while remembering another. Contemplate your own memories, both real and perceived, while enjoying this truly original coming-of-age story and experiencing the music, family, friendships, tragedies, and triumphs of Another Brooklyn (Amistad, $22.99). Ages 14 and up.