Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: The Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this review.

As soon as I saw that Gene had a new book coming out, I knew I needed to read it. Add to it the fact that this new series is meant to teach kids coding--something I'm interested in learning--and I knew I needed to read this at some point. And both Gene and Mike certainly didn't disappoint.

Secret Coders makes learning basic coding interesting, fun, and easy. People of any age could understand the book. I liked the sense of interaction in the book, and they did a fine job of keeping me engaged the whole time. I don't know that I agreed with all the ways they presented information, but I remained interested throughout the whole book, so I guess it's okay. Older audiences may find the "now you try" parts a little elementary and reminiscent of children's shows that do the same, but it's not a big hindrance in the story.

That being said, not much actually happened in this book. Most of the book was set up and background that will propel the later books. The ending was definitely a great cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting the next book already. Many of the conflicts also didn't feel very fleshed out, but I figured it's more a first book in a graphic novel series thing than anything else. I'm hoping they'll be explored more later!

In addition, we didn't actually learn much coding in this one, so I'm not sure how much each book will roughly cover. I don't mind how little was taught, but I can only imagine how much more there is to coding than the very basics presented in this first volume. I'm definitely looking forward to the later books!

Lastly, I continue to love Gene's smooth inclusion of diverse characters. He never seems to be inserting them for the sake of including them. It's all included very seamlessly, and I love that about each of his stories. A character is never defined by the way they look, the way they identify, whatever. This kind of representation is so refreshing to see, especially in graphic novels, where characters are drawn out and pictured on every page. I can't wait to see what's to come!
The Secret Coders: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Gene Luen Yang: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Mike Holmes: Website | Tumblr | Flickr

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