cover image Code Red

Code Red

Joy McCullough. Atheneum, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9626-2

Thirteen-year-old, white-cued Eden feels listless after a shoulder injury and sudden growth spurt force her to quit gymnastics. Now, instead of attending practice, she’s enrolled in IRL school for the first time in two years and spends long hours alone since her divorced mother—the CEO of a menstrual products company—is rarely home. Eden struggles to make friends, until she and Guatemalan American classmate Maribel bond during suspension following their physical retaliation against a bully who taunted Eden about her mother’s occupation. The tweens become fast friends, and Eden finds herself looking forward to volunteering at the food pantry run by Maribel’s mother. It’s there that Eden meets Raven and her transgender son Will, both white-cued, who have begun a community project in which they make reusable menstrual pads for people around the globe. Eden—accompanied by Maribel—wholeheartedly joins Raven and Will’s altruistic efforts, putting her at odds with her corporate-minded mother. McCullough (Enter the Body) sheds light on issues of injustice, misogyny, and period poverty, as well as varying other challenges surrounding financial precarity, via Eden’s warmly rendered personal journey from laser-focused athlete to stalwart activist. Eden’s evolving relationship with her mother, and their opposing ideals, provide additional narrative heft. Ages 8–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (June)