Margie Kelly Breaks the Dress Code

Bridget Farr. Little, Brown, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-46157-3

A sixth grader’s battle for justice is the topic of this thought-provoking feminist novel featuring a determined heroine living in suburban Austin, Tex. Margie Kelly, assumed white, has a rough initiation to middle school—she gets dress coded first thing for wearing a skirt that’s slightly too short, then fares poorly at quiz bowl team tryouts, ending up as alternate while her best friend Daniela, who is Mexican American, lands a regular spot. Humiliated and angry, Margie becomes aware of how the school treats binary genders differently: the dress code applies only to girls, and only three girls make the quiz bowl team. Following the footsteps of her activist mother, who died before Margie was two, the girl organizes a protest march to change the dress code. She realizes too late that she isn’t taking everybody’s needs into consideration—particularly “the dress code challenges for girls of color or queer girls or nonbinary people.” Told in a sympathetic first-person voice and featuring an ethnically inclusive cast, Farr’s (Pavi Sharma’s Guide to Going Home) relatable story shows the pitfalls of failing to consider intersectional representation. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong. (July) [/em]