Cover Image: A-Okay

A-Okay

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Member Reviews

I absolutely loved this book, and I wish I had it as a pre-teen. Will definitely be recommending it to fellow aces, as well as middle schoolers at my library!
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This graphic novel was completely not what I was expecting. The A stands for both acme as well as Ace or asexual. Most of the book deals with an eighth grade Jay that has pretty severe acne. They were some of the last people to get acne in their school. They just want it gone and they go to a doctor and go on a very trying regiment to make it all go away. Throughout the eighth grade year, the class schedule, the changing of friends, and the effects of the medication, life is hard. Sometimes it’s the hardships that a personal growth. I quite enjoyed this story and watching the character grow up. I liked watching them except themselves and discover that they are ace. I even liked their concerns over their acne and how it affected their self-worth. This is something I think many students would feel and understand which would make it a great book for any middle and high school to have.
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A fun, quick, and heart-warming read about a middle schooler struggling to find his place with his friend groups, while also coming to terms with his acne and his asexuality. Great for middle grade graphic novel fans.
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Wasn't able to download the file. I love the premise and think it's a good comp to that graphic novel about periods that Macmillan put out a couple years ago. Was really looking forward to reading it.
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Sort of lacking in focus. It starts out exploring the social issues caused by severe acne and poor self-esteem but throws in a heavy dose of sexual development at the end. The two ideas aren't fully integrated.
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I think tweens and teens will enjoy this graphic novel, especially those who are questioning their sexuality. Hand to students who enjoyed The Lumberjanes and The Magic Fish.
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Joining cultural classics such as Shannon Hale's Friends series and Svetlana Chmakova's Berrybrook Middle School series, A-Okay combines humor and real-life drama into a readable and fun graphic novel. Coming from the perspective of a growing boy, Greene's installment will surely reach more audiences. The inclusion of asexuality made the read even more fun, as this is an often ignored identity that the younger generation deserves more on.
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A solid contribution to the middle grade graphic novel category, students will enjoy this book because it deals with the embarrassing topic of acne as well as friendship and sexual identity.  There are a lot of great elements to this story I just felt that it never fully came together.  That being said I will purchase it for my library because I know that my students will identify with the struggles portrayed in the book.
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My students and I really love middle school memoir (or memoir-esque) graphic novels–I cannot keep them on the shelf, and A-Okay is going to fall right in with that group. What makes a book like this so popular is that it takes something that students need to connect with or that they need to understand and shines a spotlight on a likeable character working their way through the challenge. A-Okay fits this perfectly with Jay’s wonderful character arc as he makes his way through 8th grade figuring out his passions, true friends, and sexual identity; with the focus on Jay’s acne which many middle schoolers deal with but may never have seen in a book; and with the very realistic middle school friendship drama that happens as childhood friends begin to become their own person. This engaging storyline along with Greene’s colorful, detailed, and distinct illustrations will make this a graphic novel I know will never be on my school library’s shelf.
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing this advanced read. Thank you to the author for creating such an amazing book and telling your story!

THIS IS A MUST-HAVE for middle school (and even high school) libraries! As an age-appropriate, semi-autobiographical, Ace rep, graphic novel, I am thrilled to see this representation finally! It has been extremely difficult trying to curate the collection to be more inclusive, but each year we see more and more representation, which is exciting. Our GSA club recently met and discussed how in our collection we have more "gay" books and even a rise in trans, but hardly any ace, queer, bi, or gender-fluid. Plus, usually these LGBTQIA+ books are rated YA, which can hinder some kids from seeing the rep for fear if they aren't mature enough for other topics discussed (we do not prohibit any student from checking out any book, but they can see a YA sticker on it). We will definitely be purchasing for our library!

Also, I am now extremely curious about this author because I actually teach in the district he describes and grew up local too. May need to reach out for a GSA guest speaker.
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'A-Okay' with story and art by Jarad Greene is a semi-autobiographical graphic novel about coming to terms with who you are and who your friends will be.

Jay is starting eighth grade with some acne and all of his friends in different classes.  When the friends seem to wander and the acne gets worse, Jay is left to find his own way.  He likes art, but not necessarily the new girl in art who seems to like him.  Can Jay find his own way in life?

I liked this story of going through a seemingly tough time in life and forging a path through it.  I think the story could be encouraging for pre-teens who struggle with their identity.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from HarperCollins Children's Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
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Jay is in eighth grade and it isn't going like he thought it would.  All of his friends are in different classes, he has no one to sit with at lunch, and his best friend is avoiding him.  He also went from having clear skin to a severe case of acne that gets him put on a powerful medication with some side effects.  

I found this graphic novel entertaining and enjoyable.  While it dealt with some tough topics like bullying, asexuality, and low self-esteem, it did so in a way that made it seem light-hearted.  I liked that while the main topic was acne and how that affects Jay's day-to-day life, Jarad Greene was able to explore other important topics of middle school like sexuality and peer pressure. 

I would recommend it to fans of Raina Telgemeier, Svetlana Chmakova, and Jerry Craft.
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Eighth grader Jay gets a prescription for Accutane to deal with his acne, but that medication comes with serious side effects. A-Okay, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel from Jarad Greene, covers some of the scary moments most middle schoolers feel at some point: body issues, identity, and finding your people. Jay suffers bullying because of his acne, and he's disappointed because none of his friends are in his classes or share his lunch period, and his best friend seems to be avoiding him. Meanwhile, Mark and Amy, two of his classmates, are each showing more than friendly feelings for him, and he doesn't feel the same. Written with sensitive humor and insight, A-Okay is about the middle school experience as a whole, and about asexuality: a diminished or lack of sexual attraction. 

The middle school years are fraught with a hormonal mix of emotion and reaction that would frighten anyone: our bodies seemingly go haywire, leaving us feeling confused and betrayed; friendships are fraught with drama and complexity; fears about the future threaten to crush us. Greene understands his audience and quietly gives middle schoolers a voice with his A-Okay characters, who let middle schoolers know that every one of these feelings and emotions are okay. Colorful and upbeat illustrations put readers at ease, and he writes with a gift for both dialogue and introspection. A story whose time has come, Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnson nailed it when he wrote that A-Okay will be "to kids with acne what Smile was to kids with braces". And then some.
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What do you see when you look in the mirror? Jay never had to worry about his appearance before. In fact, his skin was so clear that his friends teasingly dubbed him there porcelain doll. Now, Jay barely recognizes himself in the mirror as his face has been taken over by severe acne. As Jay struggles with experimental skin regimens, he's also facing issues with his peers and people he thought were his friends. Middle school can be rough!

I absolutely loved this graphic novel. Jay is such a relatable character. I think his struggles with acne and his appearance will help so many teens and tweens as it normalizes an often stigmatized condition. Jay also has some realizations about his sexuality as he notices that he has never had a crush on anyone. In deciphering this, there is also a scene where a guy friend admits that he has a crush on Jay and Jay handles the situation with aplomb. Kids will also be able to learn from this experience. I hope that this book flies off the shelves and into the hands of kids who desperately need to see themselves reflected in the pages of a story.
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This is the first graphic novel I have read about a boy acne and being an ace.  I had never heard of the term ace before but I feel the book did a great job of explaining it. I also fully didn't understand some of the acne things that one had to go through so I think this semi auto biographical graphic novel did a great job of opening up a new way of understanding for me. It also had all the typical middle school issues with changing friends and the difficulties that come with adolescents.  I enjoyed it and will be adding it to my library at school.
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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.
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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!
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Read in one sitting. Loved the colorful, vibrant artwork and enjoyed the story of Jay fighting acne and discovering asexuality as he navigates eighth grade and evolving friendships.
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Sweet, serious, and humorous, this tackles a common problem for young teens - severe acne.  It covers the treatments as well as the self-esteem issues.  Additionally, in an almost passing fashion, this also describes the main character's discovery of asexuality as an actual thing that makes sense to him and how he feels.
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A-OK 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 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 self esteem issues.

A-OK 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.
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