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Book review: 'Click'd' is a fast-paced middle grade novel to inspire girl coders

Posted September 6

"CLICK'D," by Tamara Ireland Stone, Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 304 pages (f) (ages 8 and up)

After a summer at CodeGirls summer camp, Allie Navarro can't wait to test her new app, Click'd, out on her friends at school. To her surprise, it's a big hit, and takes her on quite the ride through middle school problems.

In New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone's latest book, "Click'd," readers follow smart, 12-year-old protagonist Allie as she tries to fix her mistakes and stay ahead of her nemesis, Nathan, and his app-building skills at the same time.

The format of this story will appeal to young readers who are familiar with cellphones, apps and other digital or social media features. Aside from the prose, which is full of middle grade voice, there are also text messages, Click'd wall posts, and other illustrations.

Allie and her coding skills are both inspiring and relatable to girls who are interested in the same things, but also simple enough that readers who don't know a lot about coding will be fascinated and able to follow the process and the story.

The middle school speed bumps will also appeal to young readers who know what it's like to be afraid to be yourself or reach out to make a new friend. Allie and her app are something deserving of viral status, as are her growth as a character, her bravery in admitting her mistakes and her ability to work hard to make amends — even if it means teaming up or not beating your archenemy. The idea that competition can be healthy and not always thrive on hatred is an important message.

Stone has a talent for pacing and this quick-moving story will keep young readers interested until the end. The immersive middle school setting and supportive cast of characters are fun and enjoyable.

"Click'd" has no foul language, violence or sexual content.

Tara Creel is a Logan-native-turned-California-girl and mother of four boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.

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