In her debut middle grade novel, Dress Coded, Carrie Firestone pens a story all middle level classrooms need to have in their library. Molly Frost is an
eighth-grade student who has spent the last three years of her life terrified of being dress coded by “Fingertip” the school’s dress code enforcer. Her female classmates have all suffered the same fate and when one friend, Olivia, is singled out, painfully embarrassed, and blamed for the senior class camping trip being cancelled, Molly has had enough.
Molly begins a podcast called “Dress Coded” to call out this unfair treatment and the inconsistent application of the school dress code policy by the administration. As Molly convinces friends to share their stories, her following grows, including former students now in high school, who share their experiences of body shaming. When one girl is coded for having hair styled “too high”, Molly decides they need to go to the school board. This leads to her school’s first “camp in”.
Dress Coded sheds light on a practice that shames girls during a vulnerable time in their lives and pokes holes in the argument that dress codes are necessary to prevent boys from being “distracted”. I loved how Molly found her voice and stood up for her beliefs and overcame her own person struggles. Her strength, resilience and perseverance are to be admired.