Batter up! Fast Pitch, Nic Stone’s next book, is almost here, and there are no strikes, fouls, or outs in sight. The bases are loaded, and she’s poised to make a game-winning hit. In Fast Pitch, Stone brings readers to the dugout. Shenice Lockwood is the captain of her softball team, the Fulton Firebirds. She’s focused and ready to win regional championships until life throws her a curveball. When Shenice’s great-uncle tells her about a crime a family member allegedly committed, she decides to pursue her own investigation. But at what cost? As she works to uncover the mystery, the regional championships hang in the balance.
Once again, Stone doesn’t shy away from tough topics. She continues to include the pervasiveness of racism. However, she doesn’t allow it to overwhelm the story. Rather, it sits naturally within the story; it exists in the book’s world as it does in our world. (Which, frankly, I found to be just as unsettling.)
Stone also explores the significance of legacy – through Shenice’s family and the Firebirds. While they are separate from each other, Shenice exemplifies their connection. Readers learn the family reasons why Shenice pursued softball. Additionally, those reasons extend beyond softball, as Shenice reckons with her family’s name on a larger scale. She begins to consider what it means for the Firebirds as well. They make history in more ways than one. As team captain, Shenice begins to realize how hefty her burden becomes. Stone uses the time to really delve into it. She reveals Shenice’s thought processes and answers a looming question: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
Shenice truly drives the story. (Of course.) Throughout the book, she shines as a character readers will instantly adore. She is multi-faceted and compelling. First, her love of softball is clear and ever-present, and that isn’t lost – even while solving the mystery. It’s easy to see how deeply Shenice cares about her team. Meanwhile, readers see the weight of legacy bearing down on Shenice. Thus, Stone establishes a character not without her flaws. She grants Shenice the freedom to be flawed and grow from her mistakes and her triumphs. Despite the pressure Shenice endures, she’s still a kid, and readers can bask in that experience with her – from delightfully ridiculous friends and a loving family to sweet little crushes.
Fast Pitch is nothing short of a home run. The significance of softball flourishes; it’s clear this is a subject Stone cares about passionately. As with all her books, Stone retains her charismatic style. The book oozes humor, emotion, and heart. Stone works in small details that avid readers of her books can appreciate. Her characters are dynamic, and her ability to integrate multiple subjects into one story remains unwavering. Like Clean Getaway, Stone holds a clear understanding of her younger audience. She brings her writing to their level without talking down to them. Readers will delight in Shenice’s story as Stone continues to bring much-needed and beloved rep to the page.
Leading up to the release, Nerds is hosting a giveaway of the book! For more details and to enter, head over to our Instagram and Twitter pages. The giveaway begins on August 24 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on August 31.
Fast Pitch releases August 31. Pre-order your copy here.