In Chicago, a white police officer shoots and kills black 12-year-old Jerome, mistaking a toy gun the child is playing with for a real one. As a ghost, young Jerome witnesses the aftermath of his death, including scenes with his family, the police and the media.
Jerome goes on to meets another ghost, that of the real life figure Emmett Till: a black boy whom himself was murdered in 1955. Till shows Jerome that hundreds of other "ghost boys" just like them are left to roam the streets of America. The story also follows other characters, including Sarah, the daughter of the white officer who killed Jerome, Jerome's friend Carlos, whose toy gun Jerome was playing with, and Jerome's younger sister Kim.
Rhodes achieves a lot in this relatively short book, dealing with grief, history, the idea of biases (both conscious and unconscious) and the fight for justice. This is a beautiful and tragic book that is unfortunately very necessary right now.