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“Always make new mistakes,” Ms. Slade –Swap’d
by Tamara Ireland Stone
After her Click’d catastrophe, Allie Navarro is determined to redeem herself. So when the class gets an assignment to create a mobile game from recycled code, Allie pairs up with Courtney, her best friend from CodeGirls camp, to create the perfect app: Swap’d. After all, kids buy, sell, and trade stuff at school all the time, including candy, clothes, video games, and slime. So why not make a fiercely competitive, totally anonymous, beat-the-clock game out of it?
Once Swap’d is in full swing, Allie is certain that it’s the answer to all her problems. She’s making quick cash to help Courtney buy that really expensive plane ticket to come to visit her. It’s giving her an excuse to have an actual conversation with her super-secret crush. And it looks like she might finally beat her archenemy-turned-friend, Nathan. She’s thought of everything. Or has she?
Allie’s story picks up where Click’d left off. Similar to Click’d, Allie’s new app leads to a situation where Allie has to make tough decisions. Allie and her friends come up with a scheme to get Marcus’ attention: auction off Spanish tutoring in the hopes that Marcus will bid. During the bidding process, Allie ensures that Marcus wins by shutting down the auction several seconds before the end time. Then, when Allie finds out that selling items on campus is illegal, she has to decide whether to shut down Swap’d or wait until she has enough money to help purchase Courtney’s plane ticket.
Swap’d mostly revolves around Allie’s new app, the items that are being sold, and the need to make money. For the most part, Allie is a likable character, but her ability to create a complex app in a short amount of time is unrealistic. When it comes to her coding skills, she’s a little too perfect.
One positive aspect of Swap’d is the positive adult interactions. Allie’s computer teacher, Ms. Slade, praises Allie for making the right decision. In addition, Allie confides in Ms. Slade, who helps Allie come up with a solution. Allie collects the items that were sold and returns them. She also has to give the money back to who it belongs to.
Middle school readers will enjoy reading about Allie’s friend group and her crush. Throughout the story, some of Allie’s conversations appear in texting style with green quote bubbles. Some of the items for sale and the users’ avatars also appear in green. The fun format, the friendships, and a surprising twist will appeal to readers. Readers looking for a similar book should also check out the Girls Who Code Series by Stacia Deutsch.
Drugs and Alcohol
- “Oh my God” is used as an exclamation twice.
- Allie’s friend calls her a chicken twice. For example, when Allie won’t talk to a boy she likes, her friend calls her a chicken.