Allie Navarro went away to a CodeGirls summer camp where she learned how to create her very own app, and she was super excited to share it with her friends when she came back home. Even more exciting? She would have the opportunity to enter her app into the upcoming G4G (Games for Good) competition! Her app was eligible because it helped people to find other people near them with whom they “clicked” even if they didn’t know each other yet. Basically, it was a friend finder and it worked to make the world a less lonely place.
Through a series of questions, much like online dating websites, Click’d was able to match people by their interests. This way, the kids in her middle school (and anywhere else her app spread) would be able to get to know people outside of their usual friend groups. When you finished the questionnaire, you would get access to a leaderboard of the top 10 users with whom you Click’d — and then the app would send you on a scavenger hunt to find them! The app utilized the phones’ geolocation functions to tell people when they were near a match with a series of “bloops” and flashing lights — and then it gave users a photo clue pulled from the user’s public Instagram feed. Or, at least, that was what was supposed to happen. Somehow, though, there was a glitch that accidentally utilized private photos from the users’ phones some of the time. Would she be able to fix it in time to present at G4G? Would she just present it without admitting to the coding error? Definitely a good conversation starter about honesty and integrity.
I like the fact that this story raised issues about privacy and phone/internet safety concerns without resorting to R-rated problems. There were embarrassing photos and screenshots of conversations that were supposed to be secret, but no sex acts or nudity involved. I am not sure whether that was done intentionally so that parents, teachers, and librarians would feel more comfortable sharing this book with younger tweens, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I appreciated that there were no quick fixes, lots of hard work, and plenty of growing pains as the story worked up to the G4G competition. I also loved the fact that it concluded with a happy yet realistic ending. I thought that since my own middle-schooler is away at a computer programming summer camp this week, reading (and reviewing) this book was definitely apropos! And, though the book will not officially be released until early September, I think I might just offer to let him read my ARC when he returns. 🙂