The novel starts with a flashback of Castle Cranshawn and his mom run through the night. They are running from Castle's dad, who is an alcoholic. He is drunk and is shooting at them. They are running to Mr. Charles's 24/7 shop.
Coach Brody is coaching the newbies, Lu, Patina, and Sunny. The track team is called the Defenders. Castle watches from the sideline. Castle runs on the outside and beats Lu! Coach Brody wants Castle to join the team. Castle tells Coach his nickname is "Ghost."
Come on guys! You can do it! High knees for everyone!!
Coach Brody drives a taxi. He gave Castle a ride home. Castle saw his mom walking on the street and told to get in the cab. Coach tried to talk mom into allowing Castle to running track. She told him, "No!" at first, but then changed her mind. Coach promised that he would make sure Castle does all his homework and that he doesn't get in trouble.
I told you should say, "No!"
And who are you? No, my boy is not running track!
Brandon is a bully. He bullies Castle and calls him Shack. They get in a fight because Brandon throws a chicken wing at Castle. Castle jumps on him and beats him to a pulp with the cafe tray. He has to go to the Principal. Castle tells Mr. Marshall to call his "uncle."
Fight, fight, fight!
You're poor and you live in a bad neighborhood! Hahahahahaha!!
Leave me alone!
Coach is furious that Castle said he was his uncle. Coach makes Castle run laps after laps as punishment. The rest of the team shows up for practice after Castle is already exhausted. Castle falls on his face during practice. Everyone laughs. After practice Coach gives him a ride home.
And again... and again... and again!!! Everyone is coming and then we will have practice!
When Castle gets home from practice, he cuts the "high tops" off his sneakers. They look terrible. The next day at school, Shamika laughs at him. He runs out of the school and goes to Mr. Charles store.
Dude! What did you do to your shoes?! Haahahahahahahahahaha!
Castle is embarrassed about his shoes. He goes to "Everything Sports" and steals a pair of silver bullet sneakers!
I know this is wrong...
After Castle runs to Mr. Charles' shop, he helps him unload the groceries. Castle gets accidentally locked in the store room. It is the same store room that he was hiding in when his father was shooting at him. Mr. Charles opens the door and Castle bolts out of the shop.
Coach Brody takes all the newbies to dinner. Coach doesn't allow them to eat until they each confess one secret. Everyone tells their secret. Castle tells the group that his father shot after them and is serving time in prison. Everyone is shocked! Coach is happy because they are becoming a team.
Delicious Chinese Food
It's Track Meet Day! Coach hands out the uniforms to all the players. However, he does not give a uniform to Castle. Coach hands Castle a picture and it is of himself stealing the "silver bullet" shoes! Coach is furious and tells Castle to sit down and not move!
Coach Brody takes Castle home and explains to him that he used to live in the same neighborhood. Coach's dad used to beat him. Coach also tells Castle that he would have bought the sneakers for him. Castle doesn't understand why Coach is so nice. Coach promises not to tell Castle's mom.
Stealing is not allowed! I would have bought them for you!
Coach Brody takes Castle back to the shoe store. Castle apologizes to the clerk. She forgives him. Coach Brody pays for the shoes Castle stole. Coach tells Castle that he has to clean out his trunk as punishment.
I forgive you!
Ghost gets his uniform from Coach. He is also wearing the "silver bullet." He's really excited! He can't believe he is really on a team! This is the first time Ghost has gone back in the bedroom since his dad shot after them.
I'm so excited!
Ghost and his family miss the bus. So, they walk to the track meet. On the way, Ghost goes into Mr. Charles store to show off his uniform! Mr. Charles gives Ghost a pack of sunflower seeds and wishes him good luck!
When Ghost gets to the track, he sees Brandon. Each are surprised to see each other. Lu tells Ghost to ignore him and just concentrate on the race! They line up and the gun goes off! Boom! The book end without the reader knowing who won the race.
Let's go Ghost!!!!
Let's go Ghost and Lu!! You can do it "Defenders!"