cover image Free Period

Free Period

Ali Terese. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-338-83583-0

Academic genius Helen and glitter-, baking-, and costume-obsessed Gracie are best friends. They’re also the queens of practical joking at their middle school. But after they’re caught executing a stinky prank that leads to the school canceling a much-anticipated pep rally, the girls are forced to join the Community Action Club as recompense. What’s worse is that the club is helmed by their nemesis, cheer captain and all-around do-gooder Madison. When the duo learn that the club is working on getting period products put in school bathrooms, Gracie, who loves to talk about menstruation, and Helen, who’d rather pretend it doesn’t exist, are immediately on board. The white-coded tweens’ humor-laced alternating POVs occasionally read too similarly, and their quirks often overshadow character growth. Still, via Helen and Gracie’s individual experiences, debut author Terese spins a rollicking and timely tale of period equity in which eighth graders on the cusp of big change learn how to collaborate with others and how to use their creative, intellectual, and mayhem-causing talents to enact meaningful change. Ages 8–12. Agent: Miranda Paul, Erin Murphy Literary. (Mar.)