I've been pursuing music-based middle grade, or middle grade stories that feature music in a meaningful way, for the better part of a year, and this is another great example. It's written in verse, which means while it looks like it has a lot of pages (and it does --383), it's a few hours read, at most. It goes by super-quick. And a lot of the punctuation, brackets and stuff, which are specific to coding, can easily be ignored by lower-level readers (and those of us with no computer coding experience at all) with no loss in story comprehension.
Emmy is the daughter of musicians -- a pianist father who's opera singing mom has taken a non-musical job to support her family while giving her husband a shot at the (piano) big time -- becoming a soloist. The problem is, Emmy's never really buckled down enough to master any of the instruments she's tried out, and she's ping-ponged from one to the next. She tried piano and singing, even, with help from her parents, but she's concluded she's not a musician.
Which is just not true. The music is inside her, the key is -- getting it out.
She lets her new mid-year-move middle school pick her elective, and she gets computer science, where she meets her new BFF, who loves coding but doesn't know how to break that news to the singing choir girls she's always run with before.
Emmy and her fellow-coder end up forging a tight friendship, especially in light of a boy in class who's not very nice to them, but they all come together when their teacher's cancer relapses and she ends up in the hospital.
The teacher-with-cancer angle is designed to be a tear-jerker.
However, the way Emmy finds her path to her own music resonated even more strongly with us, as my son (who's taken string instrument lessons for more than a decade) found his passion during COVID and online schooling through writing synthesized tunes (instrumental hip-hop, mostly) on Soundation.
A fun read, and great for April!