Emmy in the Key of Code

by Aimee Lucido
September 2019 – Versify / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US)

An American Bookseller’s Association 
“Summer-Fall 2019 Indies introduce”

The middle grade novel in verse merges the languages of poetry and computer code to tell the story of a 12-year-old girl who finds her place in the world of computers after failing to live up to her parents’ musical legacy—until secrets from both her new best friend and her new favorite teacher threaten to destroy her sense of home. Perfect for fans of Girls Who Code series and The Crossover.

In a new city, at a new school, twelve-year-old Emmy has never felt more out of tune. Things start to look up when she takes her first coding class, unexpectedly connecting with the material—and Abigail, a new friend—through a shared language: music. But when Emmy gets bad news about their computer teacher and finds out Abigail isn’t being entirely honest about their friendship, she feels like her new life is screeching to a halt. Despite these obstacles, Emmy is determined to prove one thing: that, for the first time ever, she isn’t a wrong note, but a musician in the world’s most beautiful symphony.

Aimee Lucido is a software engineer and diversity advocate at Uber and a graduate of Hamline’s MFAC program. Women in technology is a subject close to her heart, and she brings this passion to the page. In her spare time, she does musical improv and writes crossword puzzles. She lives in San Francisco, California. www.aimeelucido.com


“As [Emmy] becomes more comfortable in her own skin, she grows aware of the many traumas that affect her family, classmates, and teachers, and readers will cheer to see them work collectively—like an orchestra or like software developers—to create something beautiful… Never didactic, these poems interweave music, programming, family drama, and middle school as interconnected parts of Emmy’s life.”—Kirkus, starred review

“Written in verse and JavaScript, this timely debut from author and software engineer Lucido champions girls in STEM and delivers a positive message about being “always exactly yourself.”[…] Through the author’s creative mesh of coding, music, poetry, and narrative, this story uniquely conveys the art and beauty that can be found in multiple disciplines. Emmy’s desperate search for both friendship and affirmation is relatable and relevant, as is the powerful message that computer programming is for anyone interested.”—Publishers Weekly

“This book brought me right back to the emotions of my middle-school years and I’m sure that in the right hands, it will mean the world to someone… As [Emmy] develops new skills, she realizes she has more talent (and friends) than she thought. Her discoveries prompt us to wonder what creativity we might find in ourselves… An unforgettable story in three-part harmony.”—ABA Bookseller Blurbs

“…[T]he characters and relationships are complex and believable… The book also touches on some of the challenges girls face in pursuing STEM-related fields… This unusual tale seamlessly weaves basic computer coding concepts into a compelling story about middle schoolers struggling to forge their own identities in spite of the expectations of their families and society.”—School Library Journal