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Ghost Boys

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4.39  ·  Rating details ·  15,840 ratings  ·  2,766 reviews
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 and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome pro
...more
Hardcover, 214 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Calliope I'm in 6th grade and I think it's fine to read.
Elise For high schoolers, they might prefer 'The Hate U Give' or 'All American Boys', similar subject matter, but written for an older audience. If you have…moreFor high schoolers, they might prefer 'The Hate U Give' or 'All American Boys', similar subject matter, but written for an older audience. If you have students looking for a historical perspective, 'Dreamland Burning' is another phenomenal book.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,840 ratings  ·  2,766 reviews


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Jazmen
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always struggle to review these types of novels--these black lives matter, civil rights-esque novels. I often go into them expecting to be angry. I'm pre-angry before I even start them. Why? Because this is happening, still--today, and though the books are based on fictional characters--the story themselves are all too real.

Jerome, was a kid--playing with a toy gun--when he was gunned down by a police officer. Mistaken for a "grown man," posing as a threat to--society, I suppose.

The world's de
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Donalyn
I finished this book while the National Anthem played on the Atlanta airport TVs for the Super Bowl. I burst into tears. This is a haunting and important book I'll be thinking about for a long time.
Hannah Greendale
Jewell Parker Rhodes tackles timely issues (racial bias, bullying, class differences with regard to education and upbringing, gun violence) and introduces young readers to important figures (Emmett Till, Tamir Rice) in this story of a twelve-year-old black boy who is shot and killed after police mistakenly assume his toy gun is a real weapon.

Despite the significance of its subject matter, Ghost Boys is crippled by a frenetic writing style:

He tells her about San Antonio. "Always sun. Never sn
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Cristina Monica
Some authors write 400-page books and never manage to successfully convey their intended message to their readers. Jewell Parker Rhodes here wrote a 200-page story that brims with strength, power and importance.

I read it in a single sitting. That’s how well-written and captivating it was. I must have gotten goosebumps at least five times as I read about twelve-year-old Jerome’s life before and after death as well as the different reactions of his friends and family members.

It’s possible you’ve
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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you need some good book recommendation on #blacklivesmatter read this one. The overall verdict of how the book handles police brutality and how this book ended is something I want to discuss.

The one 🌟 missing from the rating has never mattered more. I am disappointed at how things ended up so quietly after everything has happened.

The whole book is written really well. Clear, vivid images of violence and shooting, rampant killing of the black since long time back are represented well with re
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Rebecca McNutt
Ghost Boys will definitely appeal to fans of The Lovely Bones in its strangely beautiful and sad story of a young boy murdered and trying to understand why, but its infusion of deeper themes including systematic racism and gun violence gives it its own original footing. All too often we look at these types of killings as mere statistics, but young Jerome, whose life was cut short in a tragic misunderstanding, gives a human face to the headlines and hushed gossip. Emmett Till appears as a central ...more
Rachel Reads Ravenously
4 stars!

“Can't undo wrong. Can only do our best to make things right.”

Ghost Boys is a short but powerful read, and one I hope people of all ages will read. Jerome is out playing with a toy gun when two policemen shoot him. Dead, he watches over his family and community as they grieve. Joining him in the afterlife is Emmett Till, the ghost of a young boy killed in 1955.

I read this in one sitting, it's a very fast read but it packs a lot of punch. I was doing my best not to cry in public but
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Amy
This is the book I have been waiting for! I have been desperately searching for a middle grade book that would cover the same topics as The Hate U Give & Dear Martin but in a way that was more suitable for a younger audience. I tried to find it in The Stars Beneath Our Feet , but, that one was not it for me. This one was. This book is important. Relevant. Moving. Authentic. Hopeful. Searing. Gutting. A must-read.

Jerome is shot by the police after a 911 call goes in that there is a man with a
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Gemma ♕ antari.and.the.books
I don't really have the words.

This broke my heart. It made me so angry.

I cried and it was for both of those reasons. It was because this is real.

Read this. Read it with your kids, your friends, your book club, your conscience.

If you are someone that says All Lives Matter, read this and tell me you still think the Black Lives Matter movement isn't needed. Read this and tell me that unconscious and conscious bias and racism don't play a part in all these deaths. Read this and tell me that syst
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Angela
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"All children, except one, grow up."
-Peter Pan

"A shadow. Then, another. And another. Another and another. Hundreds, thousands of ghost boys standing, ever still, looking up, through the window into our souls.
Do I have a soul still?
'I don't understand?'
'These are your... our people.'
'Black boys,' Sarah whispers, then clamps her hand over her mouth... I turn from him and Sarah. I look down. Hundreds and hundreds of shadow boys. A heart-wrenching crew. Army strong. No, zombie apocalypse strong. St
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LaDonna
Bear witness. SAY THEIR NAMES. Only the living can make the world better.

Emmett Till. Tamir Rice. Laquan McDonald. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Jordan Edwards.



Just reading these names; saying these names--evoke so many emotions. I honestly cannot even find the words to express my feelings. Jewell Parker Rhodes has given us a living document that speaks to the social and economic atrocities being committed specifically against our young African American boys. Ghost Boys challenges us to w
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Amber K.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books like this make change. I highly recommend this one and hope it is in many middle school and high school classrooms when it is released this spring.
Bobbieshiann
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
“People change, but not enough at the same time. Or, maybe, people change, then forget they’ve changed and keep hurting”.
Helly
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although i wish it ended differently, I did like this book very much :)
Lauren
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-mid-grade
An absolutely heart breaking but so so so important book!

With beautiful vision and gut wrenching honesty, Rhodes pulls readers into the world seen through the eyes of a recently deceased 12-year-old named Jerome. With the ghost of Emmett Till as a kind of guide, Jerome starts to understand the depths of what it means to be black in America.

As he sees his family weighed down in grief and follows the trial of the police officer who shot him, Jerome also learns that this kind of tragedy can be pr
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Lily Herman
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's no other way to put this: These 200 pages will absolutely affect you.

Even though Jewell Parker Rhodes' Ghost Boys is a middle grade book, it should be required reading for kids and adults alike. It so deftly breaks down issues of racism and police brutality in such a harrowing but concise way, and you can't help but have a visceral reaction to it.

What an incredibly devastating but absolutely necessary read.
J.T.  Yorke
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Don't pity me," I say, sharp, frustrated by Sarah
"Maybe I can help you? Help you both? Like Wendy helped Peter?"
"Is Peter white? He's white, isn't he?" I ask, insistent, furious."


And this, folks, is how it's done. Jewell Parker Rhodes has hit us with a masterpiece that is one of the best Black Lives Matter novels to date. I knew the story of Emmet Till before reading this but Rhodes' writing gave me chills. You might not be expecting much from a middle grade novel but this one is intense. I
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Emilia
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
12-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer while playing with a toy gun. He comes back as a ghost were he is invisible to everyone except the ghost boys and a girl called Sarah. One of the ghosts he meets is Emmett Till. Emmett, Jerome, and the other ghost boys went through the same thing because of their race. This book is a really good representation of the injustices and prejudices of our world. Every middle schooler should read it.
The Reading Countess
Skinny book, big ideas.

Jewell Parker Rhodes does it again. Ninth Ward. Towers Falling. Bayou Magic. And now Ghost Boys. She has an uncanny sense of when to float books out into the world.

Lyrically written, as we have come to expect from her, this is more than a tale of injustice; it's a unique mix of both historical AND realistic fiction. Sadly, the lines between what has happened in the past are all too close to the present ones. This is an important book at an important time. My question is,
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Dianne
In a world where we are inundated daily with terror and hate, we are taught to fear first, think later. This is the heartbreaking story of one young boy’s death when he is shot by a policeman and how his ghost will bear witness to the breadth of the devastation that follows.

Jewell Parker Rhodes’ GHOST BOYS addresses a slice of the rampant racism that still exists in our “enlightened” society. Jerome will witness the devastation of his family as they crumble as individuals forgetting to stand to
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Richard Cardenas
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
GHOST BOYS – 5 STARS

I already know this is going to be one of my favorite books of the year. This was such a moving and raw story and one of the first Middle-Grade books I’ve read that deals with police brutality. I really like how Jewell handled the story and made it to where children reading this would understand it. I hope more kids pick this one up. If you enjoyed The Hate U Give, pick this one up, you will not regret it. I also read this with the audiobook so I’d say to read both at the sam
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Miss Nuding
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ. I've never read a book that has so smoothly and effectively utilized POV to characterize a protagonist and supplementary characters. This book shows readers at every age that it is their duty to stand by what they believe in and use their lives to promote positive change. Very important.
Denise
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is heartbreaking but is such an important book. It is one that I hope gets into the hands of as many kids as possible because as Rhodes states in the afterword, it is our youth that will be able to “dismantle personal and systemic racism.”

I love the way Rhodes writes and this book is no exception. Told from the perspective of Jerome, a 12 year old boy killed by a police officer, it is a complex & necessary look at the current state of our world.

I received an ARC of this book from Lit
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Jillian Heise
Ghost Boys is phenomenal. A powerful, timely, necessary book, and one written for our middle grades kids who need to hear these stories also. A must-read of 2018 for all educators, and a must-purchase for 4th grade and up classroom and school libraries.
Emily
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fast middle grade read that packs an emotional wallop.

Twelve year old Jerome is shot and killed while playing outside his apartment building by a white police officer. Following his death, Jerome watches his funeral, attends the hearing of the officer who shot him, and discovers that although his family can't see or hear him, the 12 year old daughter (Sarah) of the police officer who shot him can. Jerome also encounters and is both taught and consoled by Emmett Till, who introduces him to the
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Roemer
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so unwell after reading this but it was so needed. I know it’s been said a million times but I truly wish I had a book like this in middle school. This touched me on another level. And just like Sarah, it’s okay that I don’t feel good. Because that’s how I learn.
Emily
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: byl-reads
Such an important book. I have too many thoughts and emotions right now to write a proper review. But this is a book I think every middle-grade reader should read.
Alex  Baugh
For Jerome Rogers, living in his low-income Chicago neighborhood can be dangerous, but so can going to middle school. There, Jerome is the target of three bullies, Eddie, Snap, and Mike, who enjoy doing things to him like dumping out his backpack, hitting him in the head, or pulling down his pants. Jerome has no friends, and eats his lunch in a bathroom, locker room or supply closet - hiding out alone.

That is, until Carlos arrives. Carlos, a Mexican American boy, is the new kid in school, origin
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Chance Lee
We are all haunted by the ghosts of black souls.
Leila Brain
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! It was really interesting and I couldn't put it down. Recommended
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Zeta Book Recomme...: Ghost Boys by Jowell Parker Rhodes 2 9 Apr 08, 2019 06:58AM  
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Mock Newbery 2021: September Read - Ghost Boys 14 171 Nov 08, 2018 05:39PM  

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Jewell Parker Rhodes has always loved reading and writing stories. Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child. She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for adult ...more

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