Twelve-year-old Jerome, the pride of a poor, hardworking black family in Chicago, is bullied at school. His new friend Carlos scares the bullies away with a toy gun and then gives the toy to Jerome, who's soon out in the street playing with his new toy --- which he knows very well his parents wouldn't allow, but he loves the newfound sense of power. Someone calls in a police report of a gun-brandishing man in the street, and Jerome gets shot dead by a white police officer. As his family and the officer's family fall apart in grief and guilt, Jerome finds himself among centuries' worth of GHOST BOYS, including Emmett Till (lynched in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14), who tell their stories of racist violence. And he forms an uneasy friendship with Sarah, the daughter of the man who shot him, as she's the only living person who can see him.