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Fast Pitch

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From Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway, comes a challenging and heartwarming coming-of-age story about a softball player looking to prove herself on and off the pitch. Shenice Lockwood has her eyes set on the Fastpitch World Series. As team captain, she'd like nothing more than to help her girls take home the trophy and the $10,000 prize mon From Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway, comes a challenging and heartwarming coming-of-age story about a softball player looking to prove herself on and off the pitch. Shenice Lockwood has her eyes set on the Fastpitch World Series. As team captain, she'd like nothing more than to help her girls take home the trophy and the $10,000 prize money. And as one of the few brown faces on the field, it'd be a personal triumph to show-up her rich, white opponents. But Shenice's focus gets shaken when her Uncle Jack reveals that a family crime may have been a set-up all along. Shenice will stop at nothing to uncover the past. The closer she gets to the truth, though, the further she gets from her goals for the future. From the New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway, Nic Stone seamlessly pairs the history of the Negro Leagues with the story of a contemporary, Black tween determined to blaze a trail of her own.


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From Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway, comes a challenging and heartwarming coming-of-age story about a softball player looking to prove herself on and off the pitch. Shenice Lockwood has her eyes set on the Fastpitch World Series. As team captain, she'd like nothing more than to help her girls take home the trophy and the $10,000 prize mon From Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway, comes a challenging and heartwarming coming-of-age story about a softball player looking to prove herself on and off the pitch. Shenice Lockwood has her eyes set on the Fastpitch World Series. As team captain, she'd like nothing more than to help her girls take home the trophy and the $10,000 prize money. And as one of the few brown faces on the field, it'd be a personal triumph to show-up her rich, white opponents. But Shenice's focus gets shaken when her Uncle Jack reveals that a family crime may have been a set-up all along. Shenice will stop at nothing to uncover the past. The closer she gets to the truth, though, the further she gets from her goals for the future. From the New York Times bestselling author of Clean Getaway, Nic Stone seamlessly pairs the history of the Negro Leagues with the story of a contemporary, Black tween determined to blaze a trail of her own.

30 review for Fast Pitch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    FINALLY a MG book about sports that features softball instead of the "girl has to prove herself so she can play baseball/football with the guys" trope. FINALLY a MG book about sports that features softball instead of the "girl has to prove herself so she can play baseball/football with the guys" trope.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)

    Fast Pitch is a fast-paced, poignant sports mystery about family, racism, and community. Fans of Clean Getaway will enjoy this companion title focused on Scoob’s crush Shenice. With engaging sports scenes and a diverse cast of characters, this story shines a light on the history of Black men in sports and how we can honor that legacy. Read my full review on my blog and enter a giveaway (US only, closes Sept 13). Many thanks to the publisher for a free eARC of this book. Fast Pitch is a fast-paced, poignant sports mystery about family, racism, and community. Fans of Clean Getaway will enjoy this companion title focused on Scoob’s crush Shenice. With engaging sports scenes and a diverse cast of characters, this story shines a light on the history of Black men in sports and how we can honor that legacy. Read my full review on my blog and enter a giveaway (US only, closes Sept 13). Many thanks to the publisher for a free eARC of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dallas Strawn

    I truly love Nic Stone and her writing...her books simply make me happy. She's an incredible writer in both her 14+ age books for teens and then her middle grade work. I loved her MG debut Clean Getaway, so when I saw she had another one coming out I clicked the button to request an ARC immediately. FAST PITCH is a short and fast paced little story about a girl and her all black female softball team on the cusp to make it to the championship, when she discovers a secret about a relative in her f I truly love Nic Stone and her writing...her books simply make me happy. She's an incredible writer in both her 14+ age books for teens and then her middle grade work. I loved her MG debut Clean Getaway, so when I saw she had another one coming out I clicked the button to request an ARC immediately. FAST PITCH is a short and fast paced little story about a girl and her all black female softball team on the cusp to make it to the championship, when she discovers a secret about a relative in her family and begins digging into the past with help of her friends on the team. It had a lot of humor and heart to the story, and even though I personally didn't get all the softball references, kids are going to love this one. Nic also so eloquently tackles racism and discrimination in baseball while making it age appropriate. Really adored this book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Nic Stone doesn't write a bad book. This is such a sweet read about Shenice, a middle schooler who is captain of her all-Black softball team. The team has dealt with ups and downs in who they play against -- it's mostly white, and the team definitely experiences racism -- but they don't let it hold them back from celebrating when they are on a winning streak. While on the road to championship, Shenice learns about the history and legacy of ball in her family, including learning about her great g Nic Stone doesn't write a bad book. This is such a sweet read about Shenice, a middle schooler who is captain of her all-Black softball team. The team has dealt with ups and downs in who they play against -- it's mostly white, and the team definitely experiences racism -- but they don't let it hold them back from celebrating when they are on a winning streak. While on the road to championship, Shenice learns about the history and legacy of ball in her family, including learning about her great grandfather's near-call with the majors and how he was framed for a crime. She's focused on helping her team make history while also working to clear the history of her family. Shenice is such a fabulous tween character. She's got all of her emotions right, all of her thoughts right, and is all of her own age. There are some little digs in there that hurt -- calling Wall-E "that old movie about a robot" felt especially painful -- but they were authentic and real to the character. I loved her fortitude, as well as the passion she has in getting to know her great uncle and helping him find resolution for his brother. A great book about Black girls in sports.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janssen

    A fun quick listen.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix (Books with Wings)

    Honestly, a book having softball or baseball in it immediately gives extra stars (unless the book is racist, homophobic, sexist, etc....but this book clearly isn't). Because I LOVE reading about the game I love playing and watching (makes sense). Fast Pitch is a very quick read, it's only 175 pages, but it is just so much FUN. Obviously there were some parts that were not fun, like the racism and sexism, but any time that happened, these girls totally showed anyone being racist or sexist. Best pa Honestly, a book having softball or baseball in it immediately gives extra stars (unless the book is racist, homophobic, sexist, etc....but this book clearly isn't). Because I LOVE reading about the game I love playing and watching (makes sense). Fast Pitch is a very quick read, it's only 175 pages, but it is just so much FUN. Obviously there were some parts that were not fun, like the racism and sexism, but any time that happened, these girls totally showed anyone being racist or sexist. Best part in the book was CLEARLY when Cala struck out that boy who was being really awful to them. Honestly, the nerve of that kid to tell them that THEY weren't hitting the ball right, when those boys didn't even know how to play. Some people just think that girls are bad at a sport because they're girls. All in all, I LOVED this book. I really enjoyed how much the sport was part of it, it's like my extra little softball boost until fall ball starts (Friday!!! Technically). And the mystery was also *fun* to read, though obviously disheartening that that would happen. Still, super cool that she was able to solve it, and I liked how she connected with her great-uncle Jack! When she got injured I was so sad, I know what that's like to not be able to play softball because your arm is injured (left arm, even!) and it is not fun. BEFORE READ: The first Nic Stone book I read was...not great (Odd One Out) but I am SUPER excited about this one. I LOVE sports books, especially girls in sports, and given that I PLAY softball, this one looks extremely interesting! I'm also fascinated with how it is going to tackle how white softball is because, and I say this as a white teen, it is very white, and that needs to change. Really looking forward to this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I loved this book. It was a lovely mix of sports action, realistic fiction, mystery, and plucky middle grade characters. If you liked Clean Getaway you have to pick this up. It is also a fantastic next read for kiddos who have sped through all of the books in Reynolds' Track series. Shenice is the captain of her softball team. And this year they have a chance to do something n Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I loved this book. It was a lovely mix of sports action, realistic fiction, mystery, and plucky middle grade characters. If you liked Clean Getaway you have to pick this up. It is also a fantastic next read for kiddos who have sped through all of the books in Reynolds' Track series. Shenice is the captain of her softball team. And this year they have a chance to do something no other team has ever done: be the first all-Black team to make it to the district championships and beyond. As the team's season continues on, Shenice becomes distracted by something her Great-Uncle Jack tells her about her Great-Grandfather JonJon, who was a great baseball player himself and almost become one of the first few black men in the Major Leagues. But, according to Jack, JonJon was framed for a crime he didn't commit and his legacy in baseball was erased. So now Shenice is determined to find out what really happened. But focusing on that means not focusing on her team. Highly recommend. This is a first purchase for all collections.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Fast Pitch is a middle grade contemporary written by Nic Stone. It centers on a girl with a family baseball legacy that is a weight on her shoulders as she attempts to clear the name of her great-grandfather and win a historic title for her team. Twelve-year-old Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood has been playing baseball her whole life – just like her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before her. Now captain of the Fulton Firebirds, the first all-Black team in Georgia's Dixie Youth Softball A Fast Pitch is a middle grade contemporary written by Nic Stone. It centers on a girl with a family baseball legacy that is a weight on her shoulders as she attempts to clear the name of her great-grandfather and win a historic title for her team. Twelve-year-old Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood has been playing baseball her whole life – just like her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before her. Now captain of the Fulton Firebirds, the first all-Black team in Georgia's Dixie Youth Softball Association, her goal is to lead her team to the championship and send a message that girls do belong on the field. However, when that goal sees a setback, Shenice's father gives her Great-Grampy JonJon's mitt as a reminder of what is within her. However, the item that truly captures her attention in JonJon's off-limits trunk is his leather journal and his story. When Shenice meets her great-uncle Jack, JonJon's brother, in an assisted living facility, she learns that her great-grandfather was almost one of the first Black MLB players until he was kicked out of the league for a theft that Jack insists JonJon was framed for. Considering her family legacy, Shenice struggles to maintain her focus as captain while following Jack's clues to clear JonJon's name. Fast Pitch is written extremely well – it is far from perfect, but comes rather close. The narrative is fast-paced and heartwarming and it captures the essence of familial duty through a warm family dynamic and a child protagonist with genuine agency. It discusses race at a level the target audience will understand but without condescension. It is a novel of positive Black representation without shying away from the historical realities of the American South. All in all, Fast Pitch is a grand slam of an adventure in this energetic, engaging, complex novel that will appeal to readers whether or not they are fans of baseball.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I think this is my least favourite Nic Stone book (which is truly saying nothing negative, I'm obsessed with everything she does) but I think that's mostly because I'm a) older than the target audience b) not a sports person and c) the logic leaps and plot holes that'd slip past an actual 12 year older reader obviously bothered me more than it would it's target audience. Clean Getaway is also MG and full of logical leaps but I feel like it works more with the road trip vibe than this one does so I think this is my least favourite Nic Stone book (which is truly saying nothing negative, I'm obsessed with everything she does) but I think that's mostly because I'm a) older than the target audience b) not a sports person and c) the logic leaps and plot holes that'd slip past an actual 12 year older reader obviously bothered me more than it would it's target audience. Clean Getaway is also MG and full of logical leaps but I feel like it works more with the road trip vibe than this one does so where there it was endearing, here it takes you out of the narrative a bit. Beyond a few small details though, this was wonderful as always and I'm still glad I read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Low 4 Stars! *Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for allowing me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Fast Pitch follows the story of twelve-year-old Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood as she tries to help get the first all-black fast pitch softball team to the district championship. Shenice comes from a long line of baseball players, and she also hopes to make her mark on the field being the team captain of the Firebirds. Shenice spends Low 4 Stars! *Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for allowing me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Fast Pitch follows the story of twelve-year-old Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood as she tries to help get the first all-black fast pitch softball team to the district championship. Shenice comes from a long line of baseball players, and she also hopes to make her mark on the field being the team captain of the Firebirds. Shenice spends her days studying hard at school, and practicing even harder at softball practices, but after the death of her grandpa, she stumbles across a family scandal that involved her great-grandfather JonJon, which causes her to be more distant at school and practice. She learns from her uncle Jack, that JonJon was innocent of the crime he was suspected of committing, and she sets out to help clear his name. But with her being pulled in all sorts of directions, Shenice starts to feel the pressure from her team, teachers, friends, and family. This was another good book by Nic Stone, and my first time reading one of her books at the middle grade level. I still prefer her YA books over this middle grade book, but I think my students will be pulled into the sports theme and will stay interested in the story because of the mystery. The author was able to integrate history into a modern sports theme book which middle grade readers will be drawn to. Even people who don’t play softball will still enjoy this book due to the history and conversation topics that will be brought up with the Confederate Flag, racial issues from the 30’s, segregation, and social injustice. Even with these heavy topics, this book still makes it approachable for readers between the ages of 9-12. I think students will find this book engaging and will find Shenice’s character very relatable. She is dedicated to her team. I think any young athlete will relate to the pressure even 12-year-olds feel when they play a team sport. The only downsides for me, was that parts of this book were pretty unbelievable, but I think middle grader readers won’t really notice those issues. I also felt like Shenice seemed more like a 14-year-old in this book. Even though I thought the ending was cute, it happened so fast that I can see myself forgetting a lot of this ending within a few months. Overall, this will be a grand slam with my younger students! For personal tastes, I prefer the harder hitting YA books by this author but would still recommend this to young readers. Especially those that enjoy sports themes and/or historical fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    Nic Stone has quickly become a favorite of mine after reading both Dear Martin and Dear Justyce. While Fast Pitch doesn’t pack quite the emotional gut punch, this story still teaches important Black history (the Negro baseball league) while also putting an all Black U13 softball team front and center! Our main character Shenice Lockwood is the team’s catcher and so much fun to root for. She’s fierce, independent, and such a great listener. It’s no wonder she’s team captain. I also loved the myst Nic Stone has quickly become a favorite of mine after reading both Dear Martin and Dear Justyce. While Fast Pitch doesn’t pack quite the emotional gut punch, this story still teaches important Black history (the Negro baseball league) while also putting an all Black U13 softball team front and center! Our main character Shenice Lockwood is the team’s catcher and so much fun to root for. She’s fierce, independent, and such a great listener. It’s no wonder she’s team captain. I also loved the mystery aspect of this story. There’s some family secrets that cost her grandfather his career in the Negro baseball league, and Shenice is determined to prove his innocence. This was such a fantastic story! Thank you PRH audio for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amani

    TW: racism Shenice Lockwood is the captain of the softball team. When her uncle informs her about a crime that a relative allegedly does, Shenice decides it's time for her to act like Nancy Drew. She wants to take matters into her own hands and lead the investigation.. The importance of a legacy is discussed and I liked how Stone talks about racism in the same way that it would occur in real life. It's not in the entire book, but it will make you stop and think. This is my third Nic Stone book an TW: racism Shenice Lockwood is the captain of the softball team. When her uncle informs her about a crime that a relative allegedly does, Shenice decides it's time for her to act like Nancy Drew. She wants to take matters into her own hands and lead the investigation.. The importance of a legacy is discussed and I liked how Stone talks about racism in the same way that it would occur in real life. It's not in the entire book, but it will make you stop and think. This is my third Nic Stone book and I’m excited for Nic’s future books!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    An awesome middle grade book by Nic Stone! There are not a lot of softball sports fiction titles out there, so this is definitely a must-have for an upper elementary and middle school collection. I enjoyed the history and mystery woven in. I really would give this a 4.5 only because it had a lot of detail and specifics about softball which I’m not totally into, so that markdown is more for my personal preference. The book itself is well written and executed!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    BLAZE UP! You do not want to miss this fast pitch, lightning of a MG novel. First off, I love that Scoob is in the story (Clean Getaway) and Mr. Bonner from RCA. Secondly, the bad ass girl power, the history, the ability be brave in the face of bigots - powerful stuff. Nic can write, but even more than that she can tell a damn good story. Obsessed with the softball/baseball background and even more in love with Uncle Jack and the mystery behind her Great-Grampy JonJon’s inability to get into the BLAZE UP! You do not want to miss this fast pitch, lightning of a MG novel. First off, I love that Scoob is in the story (Clean Getaway) and Mr. Bonner from RCA. Secondly, the bad ass girl power, the history, the ability be brave in the face of bigots - powerful stuff. Nic can write, but even more than that she can tell a damn good story. Obsessed with the softball/baseball background and even more in love with Uncle Jack and the mystery behind her Great-Grampy JonJon’s inability to get into the MLB and stripped of all his records (even though it was his to be in).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Netgalley Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood is a catcher and team captain for the Dixie Youth Softball Association fastpitch softball team, the Fulton Firebirds. They are the first all-Black team in the league, which is a big deal since they live in Georgia. Shenice's father played ball but was sidelined with an injury, her grandfather played ball, and even her great grandfather played. "Jumpin'" JonJon Lockwood was kicked out of the Atlanta Black Crackers team in the Negro Southern E ARC provided by Netgalley Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood is a catcher and team captain for the Dixie Youth Softball Association fastpitch softball team, the Fulton Firebirds. They are the first all-Black team in the league, which is a big deal since they live in Georgia. Shenice's father played ball but was sidelined with an injury, her grandfather played ball, and even her great grandfather played. "Jumpin'" JonJon Lockwood was kicked out of the Atlanta Black Crackers team in the Negro Southern League in the 1940s for reasons that Shenice's family doesn't quite know. The one person who does know is great uncle Jack, JonJon's brother, who is in a nursing facility and very ill. Shenice visits, and gets a lot of information from him after her father finally lets her see some of JonJon's artifacts after her team does very well in a competition. Tired of dealing with the ingrained racism in her sport and hostility on the field, Shenice is very interested in finding out what happened to her great grandfather. Investigating sometimes gets her in trouble, as when she is injured while investigating a run down house where she thinks Jack hid some things, and she still has her ball season to worry about. Strengths: It's always good to see girls in sports, and the dynamics of a team sport are even more interesting. Add some historical information about baseball, and this is a book that will be very popular. This is also on trend with dealing with a number of racial issues, and again, bringing in issues from the past helps to highlight how far our society has NOT come. This is a good length with a fantastic cover and will be hugely popular with my students. Weaknesses: Just one ridiculously picky historical thought: A package, hidden in 1946, is covered in the kind of plastic wrap used to cover leftovers. This wouldn't have been available at that time, although perhaps the box was covered later. The plastic is depicted later as having hardened; the roll of plastic wrap someone foolishly gave me for my first apartment didn't harden-- but after 15 years got all slimy and stuck to itself. Middle grade readers are never going to pick this up, but I would have preferred that the box have not been covered, or had been wrapped in paper. What I really think: Fans of Johnson's The Parker Inheritance will enjoy this mixture of sports and history, and it's a great starting point for students who might get interested in researching more about the Negro Leagues.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Nic Stone for the opportunity to read Fast Pitch in exchange for an honest review. I am not usually a sports book fan, but I used to play softball when I was in elementary and middle school, so I thought this book would be a fun way to reminisce about my time playing in the past. I was also interested in the Black representation offered by this book, not to mention the author, Nic Stone, is a genius writer with iconic works, such as Dear Martin Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Nic Stone for the opportunity to read Fast Pitch in exchange for an honest review. I am not usually a sports book fan, but I used to play softball when I was in elementary and middle school, so I thought this book would be a fun way to reminisce about my time playing in the past. I was also interested in the Black representation offered by this book, not to mention the author, Nic Stone, is a genius writer with iconic works, such as Dear Martin and Dear Justyce, that have found their way into middle and high school English classrooms. This book is written for a middle grade audience, more toward girls, but I can see boys enjoying this novel as well. While the book revolves around softball (and baseball), the core of the novel is actually about solving a mystery, which I wasn't really expecting. I'll be honest, I didn't read the book description before diving in, as I adore Nic Stone's work no matter what, but I really loved the direction this novel took. Shenice is the captain of her all-Black softball team, the Firebirds. She lives in an area where people still sport Confederate flags, but she and her team will not let that bring them down. She knows African-Americans (and girls, to boot), deserve a historic place as ballplayers. When Shenice meets her uncle, Jack, for the first time, she learns that her grandpa JonJon was a Black baseball player whose name and reputation was slandered by a theft set-up because of his race. Shenice learns she might be able to clear her grandfather's name, if only she can get the right information from uncle Jack during his lucid moments. As Shenice becomes distracted with clearing her grandfather's name, her focus on her softball team falls a bit short. Between breaking a historical record as a team and fixing the facts of a historic Black ballplayer, Shenice has a hard time balancing what is most important to her, but she's only in middle school, so she will figure it out with the help of her friends and family. I absolutely adored this book. It is well-written, enjoyable for middle grade readers or readers of all ages beyond. The mystery revolving around the crime Shenice's grandfather was framed for is a great plot focused around baseball, but adds so much more depth to Shenice, her story, and her dreams for Black girls and her softball team. A well-rounded novel that runs more than skin deep.

  17. 5 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    “Being twelve is hard.” 🥎 Shenice Lockwood has batball (aka softball aka baseball) in her blood. Her father played baseball, and his father too. As team captain Shenice has her eyes on prize of winning the Fast Pitch World Series, and being the first all-Black team to do so. Add the $10,000 prize money to the mix and nothing is getting in her way—until a suspicious family crime is revealed when Shenice meets her Uncle Jack for the first time. On the hunt for a missing item, Shenice is off her gam “Being twelve is hard.” 🥎 Shenice Lockwood has batball (aka softball aka baseball) in her blood. Her father played baseball, and his father too. As team captain Shenice has her eyes on prize of winning the Fast Pitch World Series, and being the first all-Black team to do so. Add the $10,000 prize money to the mix and nothing is getting in her way—until a suspicious family crime is revealed when Shenice meets her Uncle Jack for the first time. On the hunt for a missing item, Shenice is off her game as she hopes to uncover a decades-old mystery. 🥎 Nic Stone is a goddess of the written word. Middle grade, young adult, she can do it all! Fans of Clean Getaway will absolutely love this follow up (Scoob is back as Shenice’s crush 🥰). Stone does so many things in 240 pages: shows Black girl magic on the softball field, discusses racism, prejudice and Black history in way similar to Clean Getaway and perfect for the MG age group, and shares the power of family, friends and being there for those you love. Fast Pitch is a home run! TY Netgalley for this ARC. Grab your copy 8.31!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood is a catcher for the first all-Black team in her fast pitch softball league. At tweelve, she understands that "batball" as her brother calls it, is in her blood. Her father played baseball, her grandfather played, and her great-grandfather, JonJon Lockwood, was actually a star in the Negro League back in the 1940's, but left amidst scandal and never played in the MLB. This story goes a little wonky after finding out about JonJon and there is a mystery to solve, altho Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood is a catcher for the first all-Black team in her fast pitch softball league. At tweelve, she understands that "batball" as her brother calls it, is in her blood. Her father played baseball, her grandfather played, and her great-grandfather, JonJon Lockwood, was actually a star in the Negro League back in the 1940's, but left amidst scandal and never played in the MLB. This story goes a little wonky after finding out about JonJon and there is a mystery to solve, although Shenice's softball practices and games are mentioned in passing. I expected a bit more sports action because of the title. Parts of this story were pretty unbelievable. For example, I'm supposed to believe that Shenice's family has lived in their house for ages (Shenice for her whole life) and she didn't ever go into the grandpa's bedroom and had no idea that the house had an attic. A 12 year old never snooping? I don't think so.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily Baker

    Thank you Netgalley, Nic Stone , and Penguin Randomhouse for this E-ARC of : Fast Pitch by Nic Stone • “… we all know Black girls are magic…” • Seeing all of Nic Stone’s post on instagram about the release of this book sold me on it before I even started. I mean who didn’t grow up loving The Sandlot? • In true Nic Stone fashion this book included a plot related to racism in the past and how it is still relevant and prominent today. • I do not know anything about “Batball” (baseball/softball… although I Thank you Netgalley, Nic Stone , and Penguin Randomhouse for this E-ARC of : Fast Pitch by Nic Stone • “… we all know Black girls are magic…” • Seeing all of Nic Stone’s post on instagram about the release of this book sold me on it before I even started. I mean who didn’t grow up loving The Sandlot? • In true Nic Stone fashion this book included a plot related to racism in the past and how it is still relevant and prominent today. • I do not know anything about “Batball” (baseball/softball… although I did play t-ball where i enjoyed chasing butterflies in the outfield), but this book was still super enjoyable for a YA / middle grade audience! • It kept reminding me of Holes as well! The need to find the treasure to break the family curse and restore the name! • I loved this one and can definitely see it being used in classrooms!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yapha

    Batball (as her brother calls it) is in Shenice's blood. Her father played, her grandfather played, and her great grandfather was almost one of the first few Black players drafted into the MLB (right after Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige). Something happened though, but no one knows exactly what. Now Shenice is leading her softball team, the first all-Black softball team in the league, to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. She is catcher and team captain. But when she starts to Batball (as her brother calls it) is in Shenice's blood. Her father played, her grandfather played, and her great grandfather was almost one of the first few Black players drafted into the MLB (right after Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige). Something happened though, but no one knows exactly what. Now Shenice is leading her softball team, the first all-Black softball team in the league, to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. She is catcher and team captain. But when she starts to learn details about her great grandfather, she becomes distracted. Can she solve the mystery without losing focus on the games? This was a great sports story AND a great historical mystery. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tameka Woodard

    Nic Stone's latest middle grades novel, Fast Pitch, provides an incredible story of heart and strength focusing on a team of softball players. Shenice Lockwood is a main character that everyone can root for. As team captain of her softball team, she wants nothing more than to make it to and win the world series. However, when she finds out that her grandfather may have been set up during his days in the Negro Leagues, she loses focus and wants to clear his name. I love the creative storyline and Nic Stone's latest middle grades novel, Fast Pitch, provides an incredible story of heart and strength focusing on a team of softball players. Shenice Lockwood is a main character that everyone can root for. As team captain of her softball team, she wants nothing more than to make it to and win the world series. However, when she finds out that her grandfather may have been set up during his days in the Negro Leagues, she loses focus and wants to clear his name. I love the creative storyline and the young girls who continue to work as a team to help Shenice knowing that their chance of winning the world series may be slipping through their fingers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This book is so much more than a softball book. I would definitely put this in the hands of my sports fans, but I would also recommend this any student who is looking for a book about social justice. Fast Pitch has all the thrill of the game, but a mystery about family is woven underneath highlighted the social justice element. Nic Stone paints an accurate picture of what today's youth feels when it comes to being judged by the color of their skin, whether white or black. Definitely a book I wil This book is so much more than a softball book. I would definitely put this in the hands of my sports fans, but I would also recommend this any student who is looking for a book about social justice. Fast Pitch has all the thrill of the game, but a mystery about family is woven underneath highlighted the social justice element. Nic Stone paints an accurate picture of what today's youth feels when it comes to being judged by the color of their skin, whether white or black. Definitely a book I will buy for my library.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Lawson

    My daughters both play fast-pitch softball, so we were really excited when this book came to our door because of our membership to the Parnassus Spark Book Club. My 12YO really liked it and I did, too! It was a great mix of sports and mystery and family and matters of justice/injustice. Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood is a fantastic protagonist, and I love her determination and focus on things outside of softball, even when, at times, it took her away from playing her best and being a leader as tea My daughters both play fast-pitch softball, so we were really excited when this book came to our door because of our membership to the Parnassus Spark Book Club. My 12YO really liked it and I did, too! It was a great mix of sports and mystery and family and matters of justice/injustice. Shenice "Lightning" Lockwood is a fantastic protagonist, and I love her determination and focus on things outside of softball, even when, at times, it took her away from playing her best and being a leader as team captain for the Firebirds~and I love the way her teammates rallied around her in every way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carli

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5. Twelve-year-old Shenice is the star catcher for her all-Black softball team. They are GOOD, and have a shot at the state title. When she meets her Uncle Jack though, he confirms the family legend that a crime was a set-up, she falls into looking for answers to clear the family name. Can she do both? This is a quick read and will appeal to younger middle school readers. Recommended for grades 5-7.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa White

    I would love to sit in on Sunday brunch with the Lockwood family- not just for the bacon, but for the people at that table! Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood is learning that 12 is hard but her parents have taught her to be brave and follow her heart. Fast Pitch has the very best of the Sandlot vibes with the beautiful game of softball, magic between teammates, the power of 2nd chances, and a bit of mystery from the past. This is a book that will stay checked out from my library. It is fast paced, la I would love to sit in on Sunday brunch with the Lockwood family- not just for the bacon, but for the people at that table! Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood is learning that 12 is hard but her parents have taught her to be brave and follow her heart. Fast Pitch has the very best of the Sandlot vibes with the beautiful game of softball, magic between teammates, the power of 2nd chances, and a bit of mystery from the past. This is a book that will stay checked out from my library. It is fast paced, layered, timely, fun and there are so many things for middle schoolers to connect with in the book. Nic Stone has captured what so many of our middle schoolers are learning: softball (or any sport) is so more than a game that you win. It is being a good teammate, life lessons, legacies, good role models and the chance to be a leader. It is also tough lessons. Shenice’s softball team is an all-black team playing in the south. There is one scene when they travel to a community where they see cars in the lot with Confederate Flags on the bumpers. It is a chilling scene where even the air feels off and the girls can feel the animosity from the stands. But this is what I love about the book-- Nic Stone has written coaches who have the words to talk the girls through it. She’s created a main character who uses the fire from this feeling to “BLAZE UP” during the game despite the itchy feeling these flags give her “Like all my power and the good things about me had been instantly snatched away.” It also fuels her to solve the mystery of her great-grandfather who missed out on his career due to racism. I give so much credit to the power of Nic Stone’s storytelling - big, important and timely issues are handled and modeled so well for our middle school readers. The characters in this book are ones I’d want my own kids and students to be friends with. The grown ups in this book give such insightful and great advice for readers to take away with them. The mystery is one I wanted to see solved. This is a book I will highly recommend to boys and girls at my school.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carly Bohach

    4.5 This was great! Nic Stone's middle school novels are always a great ride, filled with awesome, strong willed characters. Fast Pitch was no exception. I loved the focus on soft ball and clearing her great grandfather's memory. 4.5 This was great! Nic Stone's middle school novels are always a great ride, filled with awesome, strong willed characters. Fast Pitch was no exception. I loved the focus on soft ball and clearing her great grandfather's memory.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Quickest, sweetest read. Really a fun and lovely story, with unexpectedly poignant moments. So glad this exists for the babies. 💗 Also, love the portrayal of happily married Black parents who are unapologetic about their PDA!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ali Mares

    A second MG book, a nice addition to Clean Getaway. I loved reading from the perspective of a girl who is black and plays softball. My love for sports and reading about real history of black players particularly in baseball was great!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I love The Sandlot and I love stories about girls of colour kicking butt, of course I loved this!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie Proctor

    Such an amazing book, one that will be beloved by kids and also resonate with adults. I love Nic Stone’s writing— her characters, the things they face, the community that surrounds them. Fantastic.

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