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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood is making history. She’s the captain of the only all-Black softball team in her Georgia youth league, and they’re on their way to the championships. She knows she’s following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, who was very nearly one of the first Black players in Major League Baseball before an event that no one will talk about derailed his career.
But when her parents take her to visit her granduncle Jack in his assisted living home, Shenice gets the first clue as to what happened in her great-grandfather’s past. He was accused of stealing a Joe DiMaggio baseball glove, and according to Uncle Jack, he was framed. Her parents claim that Uncle Jack is just senile, but Shenice can’t help wondering if what her uncle said was true. Is it possible that a white man framed her great-grandfather, destroying his career and the family legacy? As the softball championships draw closer, Shenice can’t concentrate on her game. She needs to find out the truth–before a past full of lies and injustices prevents her from leading her own team into their trail-blazing future.
Family, friendships, and a quest for justice burn bright in this gripping middle grade novel. The humor and Shenice’s loving community keep the story fun and uplifting even as Shenice’s quest for racial justice forces her to confront the darkness and pain of racism in the past and the present. This novel has something for mystery lovers, realistic fiction lovers, and sports fans–plus plenty of thought-provoking thematic material–making it an ideal choice for classrooms and book clubs. I highly recommend this book to all middle grade and younger YA readers (grades 4-8).