Overall opinion: Heart-warming, original middle grade contemporary with a sweet girl protagonist, a good friend and a brilliant programming teacher. Five stars.
Disclaimer: This book review was NOT sponsored.
An original, inventive and heart-warming novel from an exciting debut author about a lonely new girl and an unlikely friendship formed in a school code club that will appeal to fans of Sarah Crossan.
When twelve-year-old Emmy’s musical family moves to California so her dad can take a job with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Emmy has never felt more out of tune. But when she ends up in a school computer science club, she finds that she can understand code through a language she is familiar with: music. Slowly, Emmy makes friends with Abigail and the two girls start to discover their voices through the programming language of Java.
Extraordinarily crafted, the novel begins to incorporate Java’s syntax and concepts as Emmy, and ultimately the reader, learns to think in code. By the end, Emmy doesn’t feel like a wrong note, but like a musician in the world’s most beautiful symphony.
My In the Key of Code Book Review
The writing style for In the Key of Code is absolutely unique and original, a union of poetry, music and code that makes the book a page-turning little jewel.
And the words in this book will warm with your heart. It’s never heavy to read, there’s always a hint of hope in the narration, even when things don’t go well. I loved that.
The characters are all round and well written, and it’s incredibly easy to empathize with them. They are:
- Emmy, the protagonist, a sweet girl who loves music but can’t play it
- Abigail, Emmy’s new friend at school after she moved states
- Emmy’s parents, who are good parents and are facing some issues of their own
- Emmy’s teacher, Ms. Delaney, who’s incredibly sweet with her pupils and passes down her love of coding to the whole class
Although written in verses, In the Key of Code reads very easily and it’s just as easy to connect with the characters, especially the protagonist, whose POV is used throughout the whole book.
It’s easy to empathize with Emmy in her tale of a middle grade student that’s all about her home life, hobbies, friendships and school, but it’s never boring. I found it entertaining and inspiring even as an adult reader.
Trigger Warnings: character with cancer, loneliness
Conclusion to My In the Key of Code Book Review & Personal Comments
I picked this book because of the music + coding factor, that fascinates me. I have no music skills and I’m no programmer (although I’d love to learn the basics of coding) but this book was something different and I couldn’t help but be attracted to it, so I bought it.
Also, friendships. This book is choke full of situations about friendship and the loneliness that comes from not having a friend after moving places.
Ultimately, I thought the whole book was a brilliant and original work of art.
Reading & Watching Recommendations
If you’re thinking about reading In the Key of Code or you have already read it, I also recommend reading genius mathematician Ramanujan’s biography The Man Who Knew Infinity (thanks to Luana for letting me know about this book!).
For movies, I recommend watching Good Will Hunting, the story of a fictional young but poor mathematical genius who gets the attention of a Math professor at MIT, and The Imitation Game, the story of computer programmer and genius Alan Turing.
Thank you so much for reading this review to the end! 🙂