Why did I love this book?
Recommended to me by a student in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Ghost Boys, is heartbreakingly narrated by 12-year-old Jerome as he observes his family’s grief after his death. This novel adeptly reveals the ways in which Jerome’s death is part of a pattern of historical and systemic violence against Black boys. Jerome’s own understanding of this is developed through the friendship he establishes with other ghost boys, including Emmet Till.
Jermaine’s descriptions of his Chicago neighbourhood are vivid. The poignant chapter, "Roam," where Jermaine discovers the dichotomy between his underserved neighbourhood and other parts of the city should remind us of the lasting impact on urban landscapes of decades of deliberate, racist policies, such as redlining. As Jermaine says, “Chicago is more beautiful than I ever thought.”