Published: 5 September 2017
Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK’D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK’D.
Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK’D to the judges?
New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.
Rating: 2.5 Stars
I picked Click’d up because I read Tamara Ireland Stone’s book Every Last Word last year and loved it. I think it was even a 5 star read for me. When I saw a new book from her that was about young game developers, I thought it would be an interesting read.
I want to start off this review by saying that while I rated it 2.5 stars, I can see that it was a case of the book not being for me. I can see how a lot of other people might enjoy the book, but I spent more than a few minutes while reading it being frustrated with how things were going, being presented, and ending up.
Allie, the main character, starts out the book having finished a summer activity at a CodeGirls Camp, designed for young women to spend the summer developing app ideas and working on their skills. At the summit presentation that Allie gave, she presents a bare bones version of how Click’d would work. Reading about it, the app itself as presented then didn’t sound special. The premise sounds nice, but basing the connections it makes off a small, generic quiz, something you might see on BuzzFeed, didn’t make it special enough to warrant the attention it’s creator Allie was getting from her computing teacher or the camp personnel. That a young person could code well enough to make an app is impressive because that sort of work seems hard to me, but the end product was average at best.
Things did sound marginally more interesting when Allie showed the app to her school friends a couple of days later, but it was still ordinary. I felt like calling it a game was a bit of a stretch. The scavenger hunt aspect might count, but Nathan, Allie’s classmate/arch-nemesis, had an actual game that sounded more interesting and overall “good” than Allie’s. In fact, I felt a bit let down when we found out the range of other games that were presented at Games for Good, the competition happening a week into the school year that Allie’s computing teacher Ms. Slade nominates her for. When looking at the other developers and their work, Click’d was never something that would’ve won. As the main character, I would’ve thought that she’d have something more in line with Nathan’s game which facilitates raising funds for Habitat for Humanity, or another student whose game brings fresh drinking water to those in need.
The timing aspect in the book felt strange as well. It was odd that the time Allie had with her mentor before the competition Games for Good was so short. Is a week really enough time to refine an app, test it, etc.? Why did Allie need a mentor for five days when she’d spent all summer working on it with supervision? A recommendation and that should’ve been it for Ms. Slade, who didn’t end up actually doing a whole lot in her mentor capacity.
Click’d also doesn’t take into account the sheer weirdness of Instagram. It takes a photo from your timeline as a clue for the scavenger hunt aspect, but how will that help if you take pictures of your pets, of books?
I will say that the friendships portrayed throughout the book seemed very real. I pretty much blocked out everything that happened to me between 7th and 12th grade, but what I do remember from right before that in elementary school was that friends were like this. You got mad, but it generally got better a lot quicker than it does when you’re older, when you can hold a grudge. I didn’t quite get the relationship, if it can be called that, between Allie and Nathan though. It felt like that was one partnership that never got resolved, other than their were “enemies” at the beginning and then things were better b the time the Games for Good competition rolled around. There didn’t seem to be real resolution to the problems they had communicating, just…hey, we helped each other’s game problems, we’re all good. O.o I know I said relationships at that age I remember as resolving quickly, but these two didn’t have a friendship that would facilitate that kind of recovery.
All in all I thought Click’d was an okay book for me, though I probably wouldn’t’ read it again. I like middle grade books for the most part, but I think this was one of those times were it would be better enjoyed by the actual target age group rather than adults that enjoy the genre.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.