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A-Okay

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A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place. When Jay starts eighth grade with a few pimples he doesn't think much of it at first...except to wonder if the embarrassing acne will disappear as quickly as it arrived. But when his acne goes from bad to worse, Jay's prescribe A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place. When Jay starts eighth grade with a few pimples he doesn't think much of it at first...except to wonder if the embarrassing acne will disappear as quickly as it arrived. But when his acne goes from bad to worse, Jay's prescribed a powerful medication that comes with some serious side effects. Regardless, he's convinced it'll all be worth it if clear skin is on the horizon! Meanwhile, school isn't going exactly as planned. All of Jay's friends are in different classes; he has no one to sit with at lunch; his best friend, Brace, is avoiding him; and--to top it off--Jay doesn't understand why he doesn't share the same feelings two of his fellow classmates, a boy named Mark and a girl named Amy, have for him. Eighth grade can be tough, but Jay has to believe everything's going to be a-okay...right?


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A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place. When Jay starts eighth grade with a few pimples he doesn't think much of it at first...except to wonder if the embarrassing acne will disappear as quickly as it arrived. But when his acne goes from bad to worse, Jay's prescribe A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place. When Jay starts eighth grade with a few pimples he doesn't think much of it at first...except to wonder if the embarrassing acne will disappear as quickly as it arrived. But when his acne goes from bad to worse, Jay's prescribed a powerful medication that comes with some serious side effects. Regardless, he's convinced it'll all be worth it if clear skin is on the horizon! Meanwhile, school isn't going exactly as planned. All of Jay's friends are in different classes; he has no one to sit with at lunch; his best friend, Brace, is avoiding him; and--to top it off--Jay doesn't understand why he doesn't share the same feelings two of his fellow classmates, a boy named Mark and a girl named Amy, have for him. Eighth grade can be tough, but Jay has to believe everything's going to be a-okay...right?

30 review for A-Okay

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    A semi-autobiographical middlegrade graphic novel, about Jay, who is starting 8th grade. He suffers from quite agressive acne, and starts seeing a skin specialist. Besides this, we see how he is coping with his last year in middlegrade, how friendships wax and wane, how he discovers asexuality and how he might be asexual himself. All of these stories spiral through and around eachother, and are handled with a light, humorous touch, while also being taken seriously - many a moment is very moving. Th A semi-autobiographical middlegrade graphic novel, about Jay, who is starting 8th grade. He suffers from quite agressive acne, and starts seeing a skin specialist. Besides this, we see how he is coping with his last year in middlegrade, how friendships wax and wane, how he discovers asexuality and how he might be asexual himself. All of these stories spiral through and around eachother, and are handled with a light, humorous touch, while also being taken seriously - many a moment is very moving. The art has a childish touch to it, which fits the story being told. I'd think most kids would identify with Jay and his worries, and find strength from reading this book. (Thanks to HarperAlley for providing me with an ARC through Edelweiss)

  2. 4 out of 5

    laura (bookies & cookies)

    ACE GRAPHIC NOVEL, ACE GRAPHIC NOVEL, ACE GRAPHIC NOVEL, ACE GRAPHIC NOVEL!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In this semi-autobiographical novel, the main character, Jay, is starting 8th grade and dealing with increasingly bad acne. Since this is a new development, and earlier in middle school classmates taunted him for his "porcelain skin", it is crushing. He seeks help from his sister, who struggled a bit with skin issues, but this only results in missteps, like using a medication with concealer in it that also has fellow students taunting him. He has a couple of good E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In this semi-autobiographical novel, the main character, Jay, is starting 8th grade and dealing with increasingly bad acne. Since this is a new development, and earlier in middle school classmates taunted him for his "porcelain skin", it is crushing. He seeks help from his sister, who struggled a bit with skin issues, but this only results in missteps, like using a medication with concealer in it that also has fellow students taunting him. He has a couple of good friends, but their relationships get rocky, especially with Brace, his best friend. Brace starts to distance himself from Jay, and his bandmates increasingly ostracize Jay. There are a few instances of potential crushes, including a boy who like Jay, but Jay realizes he doesn't have romantic feelings towards anyone and may be asexual. After going through a couple rounds of ineffectual acne medication, he changes doctors and begins an aggressive course of Accutane, which has some unpleasant side effects. Will Jay be able to either clear up his acne, or make peace with his problems? Strengths: This felt very true to life in the way it addressed several common middle school issues. Jay's adventures in forming his own style and identity, changing his clothing styles as well as his hair, are similar to what I see every day with my students. This issue of acne, which is widespread at this age, sees very little coverage in the literature, aside from Greenwald's The Real Us (2017), Howse's Zitface (2011), and Burns' excellent but definitely Young Adult Smooth (2020). The friendship drama is always of interest to my readers, and Jay's love of art will speak to many as well. Weaknesses: This seemed set a few years in the past, but I couldn't quite pin down an exact year. I'm also just a little unsure of how interested middle school readers are in ace-identifying characters, just because many students this age don't feel any attraction to anyone, not having reached that developmental stage. Gino's Rick (2020) also addresses this identification. What I really think: Compared to memoirs such as Mercado's Chunky or Tattulli's Short and Skinny, this is a little slow moving and has a more serious tone. I prefer graphic novels to have more of a sense of humor to them, because I think it's valuable for tween readers to see this coping mechanism in action. I think this is probably an outdated view, and one with which younger teachers and librarians might violently disagree. This is perfectly fine for middle school audiences and a good choice where Raina Telgemeier's graphic novel memoirs are popular.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    A-Okay is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Jarad Greene. It depicts the pains of middle school for Jay, an art-loving, acne-plagued eighth grader who doesn't understand why his old friends are hanging out without him, or why he's not developing any infatuations – at all. Jay is a seemingly middle-class kid who gets good grades and passes for a cool kid, at least some of the time. He embarks on a cycle of acne medication and weathers its many side effects with resilience, while becoming A-Okay is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Jarad Greene. It depicts the pains of middle school for Jay, an art-loving, acne-plagued eighth grader who doesn't understand why his old friends are hanging out without him, or why he's not developing any infatuations – at all. Jay is a seemingly middle-class kid who gets good grades and passes for a cool kid, at least some of the time. He embarks on a cycle of acne medication and weathers its many side effects with resilience, while becoming more confident, literally and figuratively, in his skin. He builds a new friend group, develops his personal fashion style, and with encouragement from his friend Mark, who is gay, learns more about asexuality – in particular his. A-Okay is written and constructed rather well. Though the novel takes place near Tampa, Greene's newspaper-comics-style illustrations have a sort of anyplace quality. Jay's arc, on the other hand, is distinct and refreshing, and the story's emphasis on friendships and body image issues is likely to resonate with any reader who is uncomfortable in their skin. All in all, A-Okay is a delightful story about friendship and finding one true self.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    Really sweet, relatable story. I enjoyed reading Jay's journey and was sad when it ended. I wanted to follow him into high school! Overall, this story is sure to win over kids with its cartoony style and realistic portrayal of junior high. #netgalley Really sweet, relatable story. I enjoyed reading Jay's journey and was sad when it ended. I wanted to follow him into high school! Overall, this story is sure to win over kids with its cartoony style and realistic portrayal of junior high. #netgalley

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eaycrigg

    I would absolutely recommend this book to middle school students! It so perfectly captures the insecurities and travails of 8th grade, but still manages to stay positive. Great slice of life graphic novel!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    This simple, semi-autobiographical graphic novel covers the ups and downs of the main character's school year. The story focuses on his struggles with acne and various medications to deal with it, his shifting and changing old and new friendships, and his gradual understanding of his asexual identity. In the note at the back, the author writes about his own experience, and how even though his lack of sexual attraction isn't necessarily a static identity, it has been his overall experience in lif This simple, semi-autobiographical graphic novel covers the ups and downs of the main character's school year. The story focuses on his struggles with acne and various medications to deal with it, his shifting and changing old and new friendships, and his gradual understanding of his asexual identity. In the note at the back, the author writes about his own experience, and how even though his lack of sexual attraction isn't necessarily a static identity, it has been his overall experience in life. I think that he addressed the dynamics of this well, and I also appreciate his sensitive portrayal of boys' self-esteem issues related to body image. However, even though this book has great elements, I never felt like it fully came together as a compelling story. It is very episodic in nature, and even though the repetitive elements (such as multiple trips to the doctor for acne) are representative of life, I wished that there was a stronger, more streamlined story arc. The book will be relatable for many kids in middle school regardless whether they connect with the specifics of the character's struggles or not, and I'm sure that many adults will enjoy this as well, but it wasn't everything that it could have been. I received a temporary digital copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    *Received an ARC Edition from Netgalley* Over all, this book was good. I liked the storytelling, the art style matched the story and the telling. There was just one thing that kind of bothered me. The author is basically telling a story about the horrors of acne. So, the subplot around being asexual seemed...forced. I know this is a fictionalization of the author's own experiences, but over all...it felt like it was just trying to check a box to be a diversity read. It really *isn't* a book about *Received an ARC Edition from Netgalley* Over all, this book was good. I liked the storytelling, the art style matched the story and the telling. There was just one thing that kind of bothered me. The author is basically telling a story about the horrors of acne. So, the subplot around being asexual seemed...forced. I know this is a fictionalization of the author's own experiences, but over all...it felt like it was just trying to check a box to be a diversity read. It really *isn't* a book about asexuality, friend. It's about a kid with horrible acne and the steps he takes to get clearer skin to deal with his anxiety around the bullying. Also, the pop culture references make the story feel dated. Again, I know this is the author's experience, but I think making them more relevant as it is otherwise a fictionalized account, would make it easier for today's youth to connect. But, maybe that's just me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yoshimi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A-Okay by Jarad Green is a semi-autobiographical book that takes place in the span of one year, Jay’s last year in middle school. He has to deal with his skin issues, changing friendships, and his sexuality. Jay’s journey with dealing with his acne and the emotions that stem from treating it was handled very well. It was both realistic and relatable. I think this is a good story to recommend to middle grade readers who may be suffering with acne and/or self esteem issues. A-Okay also gives us an A-Okay by Jarad Green is a semi-autobiographical book that takes place in the span of one year, Jay’s last year in middle school. He has to deal with his skin issues, changing friendships, and his sexuality. Jay’s journey with dealing with his acne and the emotions that stem from treating it was handled very well. It was both realistic and relatable. I think this is a good story to recommend to middle grade readers who may be suffering with acne and/or self esteem issues. A-Okay also gives us an asexual middle grade protagonist! Although I am happy there is asexual representation in children’s literature, it seemed like it was kind of an afterthought in the story. I would have liked to have had the book dedicate a little more time to Jay realizing he may be asexual. He spent so much time researching about his acne, but hardly any time reading and learning more about asexuality, which was a little disappointing. ARC from Netgalley

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raven Black

    This book seemed like it might have a slightly different take on the coming-of-age story. However, it turned more into a "boy doing the coming-of-age thing like you would see a girl doing." There is personal care, dealing with flaws, trying new looks, hurting friends’ feelings, making new friends, dealing with insecurities. We have seen it all. We have even seen the "Does she/he like me?" before. I was hoping to dive a bit more deeply into the concept of being Ace or asexual, but at the same tim This book seemed like it might have a slightly different take on the coming-of-age story. However, it turned more into a "boy doing the coming-of-age thing like you would see a girl doing." There is personal care, dealing with flaws, trying new looks, hurting friends’ feelings, making new friends, dealing with insecurities. We have seen it all. We have even seen the "Does she/he like me?" before. I was hoping to dive a bit more deeply into the concept of being Ace or asexual, but at the same time, it probably was the best way to deal with it. As an 8th grader we are just usually just started dipping our toes into the dating/liking pool. And we would not necessarily have the answer to: "Am I ace? Or have I just not found "the right" person yet?" Overall, this was an enjoyable graphic novel that shows no matter the gender we all have the same issues we are dealing with.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Bleich

    *Note - I received a digital cop of this book from NetGalley* I really enjoyed this graphic novel! I felt it really grasped the trials and tribulations of early teenage-hood. Jay, who begins the story with just a simple battle of acne, progresses with new battles and journeys of old and new friendships, romantic relationships (in Jay's case, figuring out his asexuality), and academics. I overall thought this books was well written. I will definitely be requesting this book for my library. *Note - I received a digital cop of this book from NetGalley* I really enjoyed this graphic novel! I felt it really grasped the trials and tribulations of early teenage-hood. Jay, who begins the story with just a simple battle of acne, progresses with new battles and journeys of old and new friendships, romantic relationships (in Jay's case, figuring out his asexuality), and academics. I overall thought this books was well written. I will definitely be requesting this book for my library.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    I would say the book itself was pretty good...dealt with real things kids are dealing with what ruined the whole thing for me was reading about the author at the end he was in his 20's and never had real bullying as a kid so it took away all the personal knowledge on the subject feel of the book which is a personal opinion I know but the reason I am sharing is to stop you from reading it and just enjoy the book... I would say the book itself was pretty good...dealt with real things kids are dealing with what ruined the whole thing for me was reading about the author at the end he was in his 20's and never had real bullying as a kid so it took away all the personal knowledge on the subject feel of the book which is a personal opinion I know but the reason I am sharing is to stop you from reading it and just enjoy the book...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cay

    Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Jared Greene's A-Okay offers a look into what it's like to grow up in suburban Florida while dealing with changes during adolescence. The main character, Jay, has just started eigth grade, and readers follow him as he navigates acne and changing social situations. The story flows well, and the Greene's art is colorful and lively. Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Jared Greene's A-Okay offers a look into what it's like to grow up in suburban Florida while dealing with changes during adolescence. The main character, Jay, has just started eigth grade, and readers follow him as he navigates acne and changing social situations. The story flows well, and the Greene's art is colorful and lively.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Saritza

    I got to read an ARC of this wonderful graphic novel and highly recommend it for anyone who's ever had to deal with severe acne, changing friendships, and coming to terms with your identity in middle school. Greene beautifully maneuvers these topics in his semi-autobiographical story that I think will resonate with many readers (young and young at heart). I got to read an ARC of this wonderful graphic novel and highly recommend it for anyone who's ever had to deal with severe acne, changing friendships, and coming to terms with your identity in middle school. Greene beautifully maneuvers these topics in his semi-autobiographical story that I think will resonate with many readers (young and young at heart).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    This is a good middle school aged graphic novel about a 8th grade boy dealing with acne and his asexuality. Jay is very confused and worried about his 8th grade year and all that comes with it. Based on Greene’s own experiences, this book is realistic, hopeful, and will ring true with the age group for which it is written.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    From someone who also did the Accutane thing, omg this was amazing! I mean, that's not the only reason I liked it, but boy did it strike a chord with me over that! From someone who also did the Accutane thing, omg this was amazing! I mean, that's not the only reason I liked it, but boy did it strike a chord with me over that!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Rarely seen such an accurate rep for acne treatment with roaccutane ngl.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ★Kait Plus Books★

    A-DORABLE!

  19. 5 out of 5

    S Egli

    Yes! A great book for early teen years. Would absolutely hand this to fans of Drama, Allergic, or the Berrybrook Middle School set.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brianna

    This book was great and I wish I had something like this as a teenager because I relate to the constant struggles Jay had to deal with throughout the book. The illustrations are well drawn too!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca O’Dell

    Cute graphic novel, ideal for a kid entering middle school to realize he’s not alone.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cody Roecker

    GOD I LOVE THIS SO MUCH

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shira

    comic review and rating to come

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tory

    [ARC] A very sweet, relatable semi-autobiographical graphic novel about an 8th grader with severe acne and the journey through Accutane. Absolutely spot-on! He's also exploring and coming to understand his asexuality. Love the representation! [ARC] A very sweet, relatable semi-autobiographical graphic novel about an 8th grader with severe acne and the journey through Accutane. Absolutely spot-on! He's also exploring and coming to understand his asexuality. Love the representation!

  26. 4 out of 5

    valeria ◡̈

    This is so enjoyable, a sweet and relatable story about what all of us dealt with in middle school: insecurities, finding yourself, changes, etc., beside ace representation, a super win. I enjoyed reading Jays journey, it definitely brought me back to my school days. (Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with the ARC)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristīne Vītola

    Asexual MC https://twitter.com/KSonnack/status/1... Asexual MC https://twitter.com/KSonnack/status/1...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lorilee

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ann

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