Happy New Year everyone!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Synopsis From The Book
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family, his friend Carlos, and his community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey toward recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.
Short Synopsis By Me
… just above
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
My best friend and I got The Hate U Give at the Scholastic Book store and saw this. I’m interested in where it will go and how it will be. However, he messaged me saying he didn’t like the general narrative, so I will see.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
It did not go the direction I originally thought it would go, which in many ways sort of ruined the story in general. This was more for children which is what I expected getting a Scholastic Book Fair book. I thought this book would talk more on the Ghost Boys as a whole and their stories, but it only skimmed over their importance and relevance in the world as a whole.
Jerome dies. The book takes us through the events leading up and the events after (the trial). Jerome met a boy named Carlos at school. Carlos had a toy gun that he let Jerome borrow. It was this toy gun that Jerome was holding when he was shot. Jerome was shot, the police did not call out to him or warn him before shooting him. The trial goes down. Sarah, the daughter of the cop, learns a lot on the internet and gets angry at her father. Sarah can see Jerome, as a ghost. Jerome communicates with other ghost boys. The cop is not indicted and Jerome’s story ends. Sarah wants to help spread awareness of crimes similar.
What I Liked:
General Narrative; I feel that this narrative was good for what it was worth. I wasn’t heavily impressed, but I could tell where it would be important for new or younger readers.
Reality of the trials; I felt that this actually got an emotional reaction out of how frustrating the trial was.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Ghost Boys; There is a point where all the boys of past killed black boys appear. The scene was supposed to have some sort of impact on us but I felt that it was a drawn picture with no real substance. I don’t think that adding the other ghost boys (sans Emmett Till) to the story added much to the story.
Peter Pan; There is a lot about this Motif and Theme that I feel could have been capitalized on more. I feel like this specific theme, has a pretty interesting concept within this narrative. However, I don’t think that it was used as well as it could have been.
Why You Should Read:
This book is written for middle schoolers. I feel like it is a good conversation starter, but for students who need a way to open the dialogue I feel this is a good book.
Time Taken To Read