Saturday, November 05, 2022

Crunch (Click #5) by Kayla Miller

Miller, Kayla. Crunch (Click #5) 
Published August 30th 2022 by Etch/Clarion Books
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Olive has been taking guitar lessons for a while, but starts throwing herself into a lot of activities. Her best friend Willow is being pressured to join the Berry Scouts because both of her parents were in the group when they were young; instead of supporting Willow in trying to tell her parents she didn't want to do this activity, Olive ends up signing up herself. When several girls in her class are given dress code warnings, Olice is angered and puts together a group to present information to the principal about why the code should be changed. Even though the principal is open to this, Olive and her friends charge head first into a complicated fashion show exhibiting forbidden fashions. She wants to enter a short film competition, so makes a costume for her brother and spends a lot of time on stop motion animation. With all of this going on, she forgets to practice her guitar, often struggles to complete her homework, and finds it hard to get out of bed and make it to school on time. Will Olive learn to balance all of her activities before she gets burned out?

It's exciting to do new activities, and middle school students are not the best judges of how to fit everything into their schedule. I've had a number of students who thought they could do both cross country AND competitive soccer even when both have practice at the same time every week day. Olive's mother is supportive, but often gives Olive permission and just information support to get her into trouble! Olive really enjoys each activity, but all of them together stress her out. It's important to see her deal with these issues, but there aren't a lot of middle grade novels that deal with time management. Hurwirtz's Calli Be Gold and delle Donne's Belle of the Ball are two notable exceptions.

Miller's bright graphics are a fan favorite, and her previous books (Click, Act, Camp, and Clash) are popular with readers of Chmakova's Crush series, Libenson's Invisible Emmie, and Scrivan's Nat Enough. Olive's anxiety is something we're seeing in more books these days, but I love that she is surrounded by good friends who are willing to help her.

Like the Baby-Sitters Club Graphic novels, the Click series is a candy colored confection that readers can't gobble down quickly enough, but which also has a tiny bit of added vitamins and fiber in the storyline about school and life balance.

Langeland, Deirdre. The Cool Code
November 8th 2022 by Clarion Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Zoey (whose parents embarrassingly call her Zonut) has always been home schooled, and she's apprehensive about starting public school. Because she loves coding, she has made an app that can guide her to dress and act the right way. She manages to make friends despite her rough start, and they help her hone the sometimes pushy app. The colors in the graphic novel are nice and bright, and the style is a bit different from other graphic novels but still has a similar feel. This will definitely be a popular title. 
From the publisher:
In this funny and heartfelt slice-of-life graphic novel for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Kayla Miller, when coding whiz Zoey goes from homeschooled to new school, she develops an app to help her make friends. Will the Cool Code help Zoey fit in? Or will it completely crash her social life?

In an attempt to fit in, Zoey develops an app called the Cool Code with a cute llama avatar that will tell her everything from what to say to what to wear based on pop culture algorithms she's uploaded.

But when the app gives her ridiculous advice, awkwardness and hilarity ensues. With a few upgrades and a bit of debugging from the coding club, the app actually works--Zoey gets really popular . . . and gets her pulled in all kinds of directions, including away from her real friends.

Life's most complicated choices. . . is there a code for that?

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