Hannah desperately wished she could go back in time and say something to stand up for her [former?] best friend Emory. And Emory wished she could take back the hurtful things she *did* say to Hannah. But neither girl knew how to bridge the gap in their friendship after the damage was done. Though the girls were next door neighbors and best friends for their entire lives up to that point, the events of one terrible morning may have caused irreparable damage. And then, a strange twist of fate had the potential to bring them back together. One night, as she went into her kitchen to get a glass of water, Hannan noticed Emory’s boyfriend, Luke, outside of her house — slumped over behind the wheel of his car…
Chapters alternate between Hannah (a believer) and Emory (a skeptic), as they navigate their changing lives and beliefs. After Emory learns about her family’s financial struggles, and especially after Luke’s accident, she finds herself re-evaluating both her faith and her relationship with her family. And though Emory had a pretty solid plan to break things off with Luke before they headed their separate ways for college — including a journal with a countdown to the day they would say goodbye — she finds that she might not be ready to let go. Between Luke’s exploration of his own beliefs [after his near death experience] and the revelation of what caused the fight between Hannah and Emory, Tamara Ireland Stone provides her readers with plenty of food for thought.
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. 🙂
Sometimes I read books because the covers look cool. Other times, it’s because they come highly recommended by friends, colleagues, and/or reviewers. Every now and again, though, I think fate reaches out to me. This book was most definitely fated. When I got an email from NetGalley that had a spotlight on this book, which included the phrase “Pure-Obsessive OCD” (aka “Pure-O OCD”) in the summary, I knew I had to request a galley. Since I have been struggling with controlling my own Pure-O OCD recently, I decided to read this book (1) to see how accurately it portrayed Pure-O OCD (based on my own experiences), and (2) as bibliotherapy. For those who don’t know, by the way, Pure-O OCD is a lesser-known form of OCD that “has fewer observable compulsions, compared to those commonly seen with the typical form of OCD (checking, counting, hand-washing, etc.)” It was very obvious that Tamara Ireland Stone did a lot of research and took her time interviewing the teen who inspired her interest in this topic. Sam’s intrusive thought spirals and panic attacks felt very real, and her therapist often sounded just like mine! Continue reading