by Jennifer Hartz
Desert Breeze Publishing (January 2014)
Source: from author in exchange for an honest review
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The boy was 8-years-old when he died. Decades later he came to play with us.
Almost every kid grows up playing with ghost runners, imaginary people who run the bases for you when you don't have enough kids to play. Twelve-year-old Chandler Dean is no exception, but nothing could surprise Chandler more than a real ghost joining the game.
Chandler must uncover the mystery of the ghost runner all the while dealing with middle school adolescence, including his best friend moving away and awkward interactions with a new crush. Chandler's search for answers uncovers both past and present tragedies. Is Chandler strong enough to endure why the ghost runner has come?
The main character is 12 year old Chandler Dean. His mother passed away a couple years earlier and he has since taken up the responsibility of caring for both his younger siblings since his dad never was the same after his wife's passing. Chandler and his siblings seem to find an escape in playing kickball at a parking lot across the street from their house. That parking lot is where Chandler's search for answers begins after he meets a real ghost who seems to be connected to his family's past in some way.
I came to like Chandler a lot. His character was believable and I felt like I really could have been reading from the perspective of a 12 year old who had to grow up a little faster because of his circumstances. The way he took care of his younger brother and sister was really sweet and I loved reading the scenes when they were together. I did feel like his crush was moving a little too fast, mainly because they're only 12. I just thought they were a bit young.
I didn't expect a story like this when I first started reading it. I finished it in almost one sitting and it had me tearing up more than once. I also really liked the way it ended. Even though there was unexpected tragedy, the characters still find hope and peace. I thought it was beautiful. Jennifer has shown us once again that when it comes to bringing something new and different to the table, she can definitely pull it off!
About the authorJennifer Hartz wrote and illustrated her first novel, an epic tale featuring winged fairies losing their magic wands to evil trolls, back when she was six years old. She has been a fan of fantasy and science fiction ever since. From the land of Mordor to a galaxy far, far away, Jennifer loves it all. Born in Pittsburgh, but currently living in northeast North Carolina with her amazing husband and beautiful son, Jennifer spends her days teaching, reading, and writing. The Future Savior series is Jennifer’s first crack at a novel since the early days of fairy wand heists and she couldn’t be more thrilled with its quick success.