Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 61° Partly Cloudy
A&E >  Books

KidsPost Book Club: Family scandal makes softball star take her eye off the ball

June 22, 2022 Updated Wed., June 22, 2022 at 9:35 p.m.

“Fast Pitch” by Nic Stone is a 2022 KidsPost Summer Book Club selection.  (Penguin Random House)
“Fast Pitch” by Nic Stone is a 2022 KidsPost Summer Book Club selection. (Penguin Random House)
By Abby McGanney Nolan Washington Post

Twelve-year-old Shenice Lockwood comes from a long line of talented baseball players. Nicknamed “Lightning,” she is carrying on the tradition with her softball skills.

Shenice is the catcher and captain of the Fulton Firebirds, the first all-Black team in the predominantly white Dixie Youth Softball Association. She’s determined to lead her teammates through tournament season, maybe even to the league championship. Part of her wants to do this for her dad, who walks with a cane because he badly hurt his knee while stealing home during a college baseball game.

The narrator of “Fast Pitch,” Shenice is funny and honest about how she feels about herself and those around her. She thinks Drake, her younger but taller brother, is annoying. She tells how her parents are loving, supportive and sometimes confusing. She appreciates and praises her language-arts teacher as well as her “excellent friends,” especially Scoob, a boy she’s known since kindergarten, and Britt-Marie, her team’s center fielder.

But Shenice’s intense focus on the Firebirds gets sidetracked once she meets her great-granduncle Jack for the first time. When no one else can hear their conversation, he tells her about a baseball-related scandal that his late brother – her great-grandfather – was unfairly connected to decades ago. He wants her to clear his brother’s name.

Shenice and her parents had never heard about the scandal, but because Uncle Jack is ailing, she feels she must dedicate herself to this quest. The fact that Uncle Jack is secretive and not always clear-thinking makes her task even more difficult. Although she has limited free time and the internet doesn’t provide any helpful information, Shenice gets so involved with this search for the truth that readers may start to worry that she will let her own ball-playing opportunities slip away.

Throughout the book, author Nic Stone draws on her own experience as a softball player and smartly conveys the frustrations of a tough game as well as the fun tension of a close one. Whether dealing with the present or searching the past, Shenice and her story always move at a confident and fast pace.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.