A texting gaffe leads to tumult for middle schooler Katie.
The tale opens with a wry glimpse at Katie’s technology-driven existence, documenting the flurry of texting, posting and so on that consumes Katie’s time. Disaster occurs when Katie accidentally sends a text meant for BFF Charlie Joe containing careless remarks about her current boyfriend, Nareem, to Nareem instead. An aspiring songwriter, Katie transforms her remorse into the lyrics of a new song. When hometown rock star—and Katie’s favorite musician—Jane (of Plain Jane fame) learns of Katie’s predicament, she proposes a challenge. If Katie can convince 10 friends to join her in eschewing their phones for one week, the group will be invited to Jane’s concert, where she will play Katie’s song. Greenwald explores the complications inherent in relying upon technology as a substitute for genuine social engagement, comically highlighting both the pitfalls and the benefits of modern communication practices. Katie’s project ultimately brings together a disparate group of middle school students whose efforts to get by without their phones result in meaningful discoveries about one another and themselves. Coovert's illustrations convey Katie's spunky personality, capturing both her mishaps and triumphs. Fans of the Charlie Joe Jackson series will enjoy the evolving changes in Charlie Joe and Katie’s friendship.
With wit and perception, Greenwald reminds readers that there is communication beyond their electronics. (Fiction. 10-13)