Emmy in the Key of Code

by Aimee Lucido

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of GIRLS WHO CODE series and THE CROSSOVER.

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358040828
  • ISBN-10: 0358040825
  • Pages: 416
  • Publication Date: 09/24/2019
  • Carton Quantity: 24

About the book

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of the 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.

About the author
Aimee Lucido

Aimee Lucido is the author of EMMY IN THE KEY OF CODE and the upcoming RECIPE FOR DISASTER (Versify, Spring 2021). She's a software engineer who has worked at Google, Facebook, and Uber, and she got her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Hamline University. She lives with her husband in San Francisco where she likes to bake, run marathons, and write crossword puzzles.www.aimeelucido.com Twitter: @aimeelucido Instagram: @aimeelucido


California Dreaming

      I’d never visited California before we moved here 

      but I’d heard about it 

      in songs.

      Mom even made a playlist 

      and she and Dad sang along 

      the whole drive over from Wisconsin 

      but even after three days straight of 

         Katy Perry 

         the Beach Boys 

         the Mamas & the Papas 

      I still didn’t believe it. 

      Why would people here be different 

      than anywhere else?

      But now that I’m here 

      on the first day of sixth grade at my new school 

      the hallway is full of kids 

      tapping on cell phones that probably cost more 

      than an entire month’s rent 

      in our new house.


      everyone looks like they just jumped off the cover 

      of a magazine. 

      Hipster glasses 

      jeans where the only holes 

      were put there on purpose 

      and everyone pulling out a reusable container 

      full of weird grains 

      that must be their lunch.

      I tug down my Packers hoodie 

      because it’s colder here 

      than the Beach Boys promised 

      and this way no one can see 

      that I look nothing like 

      the cover of 

      a magazine.

      I wish San Francisco 

      would go back 

      to just being 

      a song.


      As I walk down the hallway 

      I head-hum my favorite walking song. 

      Beethoven’s Minuet in G. 

         dum dee dum dee dum dee dum dee dum

      I move andante 

      matching my steps to the beat 

         left, and right, and left, and right, and left

      so I can pretend 

      I’m not at all sore 

      from climbing up the hill in front of the school. 

         left, and right, and left, and right, and left

      I can pretend I’ve been hiking it my whole life. 

         left, and right, and left, and right, and left 


      I can pretend I don’t smell like Wisconsin 

      and that I wore the right clothes to school today 

      and that I’m going to make tons of friends 

      and have an amazing year 

         left, and right, and left, and right, and left 


      just like everyone else.

Locker Number 538

      Finally I reach my locker 

         12 clockwise 

         32 counterclockwise 

         8 clockwise


Attempted Duet No. 1

      “Hi, I’m new here. My name is–”

         “That’s my locker.”


? "As Emmy learns Java, the language and structure of programming seep into her poems. Music and code interweave…. and readers will cheer to see them work collectively…to create something beautiful.”—Kirkus, STARRED review 


"Music, coding, strong female techie role models—this engaging first novel should attract a wide audience."—Booklist 


"This timely debut...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.... relatable and relevant." —Publishers Weekly 


"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