Eric has just moved to a new school with a strict principal. However, Mr. Germinato seems most concerned with the school dress code, which applies only to girls.
It’s clear to Eric and to the other seventh-graders that the dress code is unfair to girls, which is ironic, since their school is named after a famous early local feminist. Eric (presumably white) finds himself immediately attracted to Daisy, a Chinese-Canadian girl who loves colorful fashion. He decides to try to help fight the dress-code rules by getting onto the Student Life Committee but quickly learns that he has no power there at all to change things and must in fact enforce the rules. When he is faced with turning Daisy in for a dress-code violation, however, he decides to organize a schoolwide rebellion: they will all wear forbidden leggings to school. How will the increasingly authoritarian Mr. Germinato respond? By making a boy her main character but putting the book’s focus on the injustice done to girls, Polak might well appeal across the gender line, although the narrative becomes a bit preachy about sensitivity to girls’ rights. The principal becomes a cardboard-cutout villain, and the characters have far less depth than is typical for Polak, but the novel moves swiftly and may provoke some thought.
Thin but nevertheless intriguing. (Fiction. 10-14)