Dress Coded

Putnam. Jul. 2020. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984816436.
Gr 6-8–When eighth grader Molly Fisher becomes fed up with her school’s unfair enforcement of the dress code policy, she starts a podcast in protest. Through interviews she conducts with her classmates, Molly educates her listeners (and readers) on how the dress code is enforced almost exclusively through young women, and disproportionately affects those who have developed sooner or more than their classmates. Outside of school, her family is in crisis after they discover that Molly’s brother has been selling tobacco vape pods to younger kids on the bus. The issues are timely without seeming trendy, and Firestone’s crackling writing makes every day in Molly’s life interesting to read about—even one of the most boring events on Earth, a school board meeting. By painting such a full picture of Molly’s life, Firestone shows how difficult it can be to simply exist in the world of middle school.
VERDICT Hand this first purchase to blossoming activists of every cause; this is a deeply, often scathingly honest work of modern fiction.

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