A-Okay by Jarad Green. HarperAlley, HarperCollins, 2021. 9780063032859
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: Hardcover graphic novel
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? In this memoir-esque graphic novel, Jarad Greene is an eighth grader with a problem. Although he is pleasant, has friends, is ready to join a rock and roll band, and is making good grades, the eruption of facial acne sends him into a tailspin. All of a sudden everyone is noticing, commenting, or making fun of his acne and “Jay” takes it to heart. After persuading his family to take him to a dermatologist and after close to two years of drugs, face washes, etc, Jay’s face finally begins to clear up. Through it all, Jay makes new friends, realizes he is a-sexual, graduates to a new school, and recovers his best friend. The graphics are simple and colorful. (Jarad Greene has come out of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont!)
Anything you didn’t like about it? This is a great introduction to the feeling of difference that having acne places on a teen. At times the story was a bit forced and the idea of asexuality felt like it was a simple mention and could have been explored a bit more.
To whom would you recommend this book? A-Okay belongs to anyone, any library or any classroom that collects pre-teen and teen realistic fiction graphic novels. Those that enjoyed Guts or Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Stargazing by Jen Wang, Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUuen Pham or The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson will want to dive into this one.
Who should buy this book? Anyone who works with pre-teens and teens in classrooms, public libraries or school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Pam WattsFlavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: October 21, 2021