Jessica Woo’s Book Review: Dress Coded

A Heartwarming Story of Girl Power and Camaraderie


Graphic design by Alyssa Chang.

Jessica Woo and Alyssa Chang

“Hello, Fisher Middle School and beyond. My name is Molly Frost, and this is DressCoded: A Podcast.” Everything changes with one audio episode hosted by the protagonist. The book I am reviewing today is Carrie Firestone’s “Dress Coded”, a novel that truly encapsulates the meaning of courage. 

Molly and her friends are fed up with continuously getting in trouble for not being able to wear the clothes that they want. Students – especially girls – are not allowed to wear tank tops, or any attire that is “too tight” for them. Things swell up when teachers scream at Olivia for taking off her jacket and revealing her tank top. Fed up with the excessive control and the severe methods for exerting that control, the girls decide that enough is enough. It was time to stand up. 

This brave little girl’s solution is a podcast she starts with her fellow friends, meant to let girls share their stories on personal experiences with a dress code. Though the project starts out small, many more people end up knocking on her door to share their accounts with these strict rules. This small act of rebellion turns into a large revolt. However, there are people who have doubts about this podcast, including teachers who have just noticed what is happening. Will Molly and her friends safely be able to continue producing episodes and eventually find justice? Read this amazing novel to find out!  

Readers and reviewers complimented this page-turner, calling it “a perfect mix of friendship, humor, and girl power.”

Maria in 9th grade said: “This book made me feel brave. After reading this book, I wasn’t afraid of standing up for myself anymore.” 

Overall, I rate this story a 5 out of 5. It was one of the most amazing books I read this year. I was galvanized while reading this story – every page compelled me to turn over another. It was inspiring for me as I read about how the girls in this novel stood up for themselves. This novel has once again taught me about the true meaning of bravery, and the importance of sticking up for causes you believe in.  

This novel made clear connections with school enforcement of certain “dress codes” to society’s norms about clothes that people, especially women, should wear. I think the book highlights that we must acknowledge the fact that being you isn’t a crime and you don’t EVER need to change what you wear in order to satisfy another person’s view. If you want to take a look at this book, you can check out Dress Coded from the DIS library.