Skip to Main Content
The Track Series
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Running. That's all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons--it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems--and running away from them--until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Patina by Jason Reynolds
Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons--to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she's been sent to ever since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she's not able to live with her "real" mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom's legs will one day take her away forever. And so Patty's also running for her mom, who can't. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds, it's building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won't tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay...where you have to depend on other people? How's she going to do THAT?
Sunny by Jason Reynolds
Sunny is just that--sunny. Always ready with a goofy smile and something nice to say, Sunny is the chillest dude on the Defenders team. But his life hasn't always been sun beamy-bright. You see, Sunny is a murderer. Or at least he thinks of himself that way. His mother died giving birth to him, and based on how Sunny's dad treats him--ignoring him, making Sunny call him Darryl, never "Dad"--it's no wonder Sunny thinks he's to blame. It seems the only thing Sunny can do right in his dad's eyes is win first place ribbons running the mile, just like his mom did. But Sunny doesn't like running, never has. So he stops. Right in the middle of a race. With his relationship with his dad now worse than ever, the last thing Sunny wants to do is leave the other newbies--his only friends--behind. But you can't be on a track team and not run. So Coach asks Sunny what he wants to do. Sunny's answer? Dance. Yes, dance. But you also can't be on a track team and dance. Then, in a stroke of genius only Jason Reynolds can conceive, Sunny discovers a track event that encompasses the hard beats of hip-hop, the precision of ballet, and the showmanship of dance as a whole: the discus throw. But as he practices for this new event, can he let go of everything that's been eating him up inside?
Lu by Jason Reynolds
Lu was born to be cocaptain of the Defenders. Well, actually, he was born albino, but that's got nothing to do with being a track star. Lu has swagger, plus the talent to back it up, and with all that--not to mention the gold chains and diamond earrings--no one's gonna outshine him. Lu knows he can lead Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and the team to victory at the championships, but it might not be as easy as it seems. Suddenly, there are hurdles in Lu's way--literally and not-so-literally--and Lu needs to figure out, fast, what winning the gold really means.
Hooper by Geoff Herbach
For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam's basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he's tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future. But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam's finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that's given him everything.
Gabby Garcia's Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer; Marta Kissi (Illustrator)
Gabby Garcia is an overly confident baseball-obsessed sport nut who's going to win your heart. If life were a baseball game, all-star pitcher Gabby Garcia would be having her Best. Season. EVER! Until she's suddenly sent to another school and her winning streak is about to disappear--both on and off the field. But Gabby never gives up! She has a PLAN to keep her champion status intact, and every step of is written out--PLAY by PLAY. How could it not work?
Checked by Cynthia Kadohata; Maurizio Zorat (Illustrator)
Hockey is Conor's life. His whole life. He'll say it himself, he's a hockey beast. It's his dad's whole life too--and Conor is sure that's why his stepmom, Jenny, left. There are very few things Conor and his dad love more than the game, and one of those things is their Doberman, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor chooses to put his hockey lessons and practices on hold so they can pay for Sinbad's chemotherapy. But without hockey to distract him, Conor begins to notice more. Like his dad's crying bouts, and his friend's difficult family life. And then Conor notices one more thing: Without hockey, the one thing that makes him feel special, is he really special at all?
After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir feels betrayed. While Bunny tries to fit in with his new, privileged peers, Nasir spends more time with his cousin, Wallace, who is being evicted. Nasir can't help but wonder why the neighborhood is falling over itself to help Bunny when Wallace is in trouble. When Wallace makes a bet against Bunny, Nasir is faced with an impossible decision--maybe a dangerous one.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. 'Cuz tonight I'm delivering," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood--he's got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it's all on the line. As their winning season unfolds, things begin to change. When Jordan meets a girl, the twins' bond unravels.
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winnerThe Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!
Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess
When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they've got to find cool. Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan to help them woo the girls of their dreams and become amazing athletes. Never mind that he and Noah failed to make the high school baseball team yet again, and Noah's love interest since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. Noah soon finds himself navigating the worlds of jazz, batting cages, the strange advice of Walt's Dairy Queen-employed cousin, as well as Walt's "Hug Life" mentality. Status quo seems inevitable until Noah stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each page contains the words he's always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his private artwork becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out? At the same time, numerous American flags are being left around town. While some think it's a harmless prank and others see it as a form of peaceful protest, Noah can't shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized. As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really true when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.
Love, Football, and Other Contact Sports by Alden R. Carter
On "Jersey Day" the artsy academic girl wonders suspiciously which football player could have possibly put his invitational jersey on her desk. In "The Briefcase" the new kid reaps the consequences when his parents force him to carry an expensive briefcase with him to school. In "Elvis" a brainy girl with this unfortunate nickname receives social aid from an unlikely benefactor--the school's football star. In these laugh-out-loud pieces, Alden R. Carter tells the stories of students from one end of the social spectrum to the other.
Mildred H. McEvoy Library at Worcester Academy | 81 Providence Street | Worcester, MA 01604