Author: Jarad Greene
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Number of Pages: 240
Jarad Greene’s tender semi-autobiographical graphic novel follows Jay, a thirteen-year-old boy struggling with cystic acne. Awkward and self-conscious because of his appearance, Jay goes on medication to treat the acne despite a number of unpleasant side effects. He’s also starting to realize that he’s asexual, which is tough for him when all his male classmates expect him to be into girls.
A gay friend who asks him out on a date is the one who helps Jay figure out his identity. I’ve never read a book about a character who had cystic acne before, my dad had it and he still has the scars. I liked that Jay was a believably flawed character who was immature at times but also tried to do the right thing.
He never considered himself ‘popular’ even though he hung out with mean kids who picked on students who were lower on the social ladder. Over the course of the book he becomes more comfortable with himself and also works to become a more considerate person.
The artwork wasn’t my favorite; it was very cartoon-y but obviously the book was written and illustrated with a much younger audience in mind. A-Okay didn’t rock my world or anything but I think kids with body image issues or who are interested in asexuality will find this a warm and informative read.
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