New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone to come to Ann Arbor

Young adult fiction writer has made waves with novels exploring race, sexuality

Credit: Nic Stone
Credit: Nic Stone

ANN ARBOR – Best-selling author Nic Stone is coming to the Ann Arbor District Library on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. as she releases her new novel "Jackpot."

Stone is the award-winning author of "Dear Martin," which tackled issues of race relations and social justice, and has made its way into classrooms around the U.S. Odd One Out, her sophomore novel, explored self-discovery, sexuality and listening to your inner voice when it comes to choosing who you want to love.

"Jackpot," which goes for sale Oct. 15, explores first love, money, family and poverty through the eyes of teenager Rico Danger. Rico struggles to make ends meet by helping care for her younger brother, working to help pay the bills and staying on top of her schoolwork.

Her only hope is tracking down a jackpot-winning lotto ticket with $106 million that she sold at Gas 'n' Go, where she works as a cashier. She teams up with classmate Zan Macklin, who is rich, cute and living the polar opposite life of Rico to hack the store's system to discover the ticket older's identity who still hasn't claimed the winnings.

"Stone authentically portrays the precarious, terrifying act of living with far less than is needed to survive, and its financial and emotional fallout." – Publishers Weekly

Creating stories that speak to underrepresented kids in YA literature is Stone's mission. Growing up, she never encountered a character like her in the countless books she read.

"To encourage literacy, we give kids' books," Stone said in a statement. "And they read them. But can you imagine somebody saying, 'Now here are the most important things you need to read,' and then you read them ... and you're not in them?"

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Not afraid to tackle tough topics and speak her mind, Stone is a rising star in youth literature. She said her little boys inspired her to write "Dear Martin," a story about a black teenager who is racially profiled by police.

Stone said the deaths of unarmed African American teenagers Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Jordan Edwards and 12-year-old Tamir Rice compelled her to write a novel that would encourage readers of all ages to have honest discussions about race and examine their own biases by posing difficult questions. "Dear Martin" was not only popular among teens, it became a best-seller for adult readers as well.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her family. For more information, visit her website www.nicstone.info.

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