Middle School is when kids become very aware of how they look and feel. New 8th grader, Jay, struggles on both accounts with his growing acne problem and confusing friendships. A-Okay is a graphic novel that is more than okay.
His loving parents take Jay to a doctor to hopefully remedy the out of control acne.. Help comes in the form of an oral treatment, Accutane. But the road to a clear face is long with frequent mood swings, patchy redness, and monthly blood draws to make sure his vitals aren’t effected by the treatment.
At school, he’s always embarrassed by his face. A former best friend is no help as Brace has joined a band and having Jay around is not working. Jay does have his art skills and a few new friends. He’s increasingly aware of their attraction while he has no feelings at all for them in that way. In fact, all around him kids are talking about who “likes” who. Jay feels maybe something is wrong with him that goes beyond any acne problem because he has no interest in anyone—boy or girl.
Colorful pictures throughout depict Jay’s struggles. His emotions come through loud and clear. Older readers may recall those days of long looks in the mirror with a critical analysis of the image staring back. Jay is a relatable character and the story flows in a beautiful and helpful way.
Highly recommended for middle graders.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi there! My name is Jarad Greene and I’m a cartoonist and illustrator originally from Lutz, FL. I graduated from the University of South Carolina, with a BA in Criminology & Criminal Justice, and minors in Theatre, and Public Relations. My comics and cartoons have appeared in publications throughout the Southeast and Vermont. I spent eight years in Columbia, SC before moving to White River Junction, VT where I received my MFA at The Center for Cartoon Studies; I currently work for CCS as their Administrative and Development Coordinator.
(For more about Jarad and to view samples of his artwork, be sure to visit his web site)
BONUS: Check out the teaching guide available from Harper Collins)