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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Dress Code Problems Amongst Other Discussion-Worthy Topics in Contemporary MG Novel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Tired of the administration's prejudiced and uneven enforcement of the school dress code, 14-year-old Molly Frost decides to take matters into her own hands.  She starts a podcast featuring the stories of students who have been unfairly targeted.  The episodes highlight a host of issues surrounding the dress code that Molly feels like no one is paying attention to, including sexism, body-shaming, racism, and sexual harassment.  The podcast starts a revolution, which leads to a peaceful but passionate protest.  The students at Molly's middle school want change and they won't stop until they get it.

In the middle of the dress code bruhaha, the Frost family is having a crisis of their own.  Molly's trouble-making older brother, Danny, has been caught vaping and selling vape pods to younger students.  His bad behavior is causing rifts between him and the rest of the family.  With all that's going on, Molly has a lot on her plate.  How will she cope with it all?  And will her efforts get the results she wants?

No matter how you feel about dress codes and their enforcement (or lack thereof), Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone is a good vehicle for discussing the issue.  The book hits on a number of timely, important topics that middle-schoolers are dealing with every day.  It features likable characters, a compelling plot, and a writing style that is warm and approachable.  Besides the main conflict, it addresses other issues within friendships, families, and communities.  Overall, it's an empowering novel that encourages kids to use their voices to stand up for causes that matter to them.  While I didn't love Dress Coded, I found it to be a quick, thought-provoking read that raises a lot of good questions.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for subject matter most suited for readers 8 years and older

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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