Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Little, Brown, and Company, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2018.
Middle grade fiction, 214 pages.
Lexile: HL360L ( What does HL mean in Lexile? )
AR Level: 3.0 (worth 3.0 points) .
NOTE: this is a work of historical/fantasy fiction, not to be confused with the 2013 disability memoir Ghost Boy. Also, this review deviates somewhat from my usual style as I found this novel difficult to unpack.
Ostensibly the story of twelve-year-old Jerome, an unarmed Black boy shot in the back by a white police officer while playing with a toy gun – but really the story of Sarah, the police officer’s daughter and the only one who can see Jerome’s ghost. The ghost of Emmett Till also plays a peripheral role.
This is the fourth book by Jewell Parker Rhodes that I’ve read, and while each of the previous books I liked more than the last, unfortunately this one sorely disappointed me. Sugar was not my favorite on initial reading, but over the years has truly stuck with me and is now one I regularly recommend. The historical fantasy and ghosts of Ninth Ward wasn’t my cup of tea, but I adored Bayou Magic and included it on my first list of diverse middle grade fantasy novels. Ghost Boys returns to ghostly visitation, and I suppose I should have been prepared to dislike this given that her previous ghost story was my least favorite of her books.Continue reading “Review: Ghost Boys”