A computer coding club brings together a diverse group of girls to solve a mystery.
African-American Lucy is thrilled to finally be a sixth grader and able to join the coding club—she needs to learn to code as quickly as possible, as her goal is to create an app to help her cancer-stricken uncle keep on top of all of his medicines. But things don’t go as expected, and Lucy finds herself working with her former friend, Latina Sophia, intimidating Asian fashionista Maya, and new white kid Erin, and instead of using computers they’re making…sandwiches? Although it’s a valid exercise in computer-instruction logic, Lucy wants to accelerate, and she gets a chance through a mysterious note that, in code syntax, offers a deal: if Lucy follows all instructions from this and subsequent notes, she’ll learn to code. The notes guide her through exercises that illustrate fundamental coding principles in enjoyable ways and also bring her closer to her coding teammates, gaining understanding of and comradery with Maya and Erin as well as repairing the misunderstanding that ended her friendship with Sophia. But what really gets them working together is figuring out who is sending the notes—a mystery they devise a simple computer program to solve. The computer elements serve the story rather than the other way around, resulting in a substantive, amusing tale.
Between the integrated logic and the consciously diverse cast, a wonderful series launch. (Fiction. 8-12)