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By Jarad Greene
Reviewed by Sarah Custance
Jarad Greene is an American cartoonist who has helped colour many younger reader graphic novels. A-Okay is his second graphic novel (of which he is both author and illustrator) after Scullion: A Dishwasher’s Guide to Mistaken Identity.
Jay starts the year as an average 8th grader, he is pretty well liked by all and can get along easily with his classmates. Though all is not well in middle school as Jay starts to experience severe acne, friendship fallouts, and haywire crushes.
As Jay’s acne gets worse, he is prescribed intense medication which gives him the side effects such as mood swings, dry and flaky skin, hot flushes, and dietary restrictions. As his self-esteem plummets, he turns to his best friend Brace only to find him too caught up in his new and upcoming band to have time for him. At the same time, it seems as though all of his classmates have romance on their minds, but Jay doesn’t feel anything but friendship towards both Mark and Amy even though both offer him a chance at something more.
Will Jay be able to get through the 8th grade unscathed or will it all be too much in the end?
With prevailing themes of self-worth, friendship, and the questioning of one’s sexuality throughout, Jarad still manages to keep A-Okay positive, funny, and relatable. Drawing from his own life experiences Jarad has captured the joy and turbulence of middle school while raising awareness of the ‘Ace’ or asexual community.
All done in a very relaxed and sensitive manner, A-Okay would be a great addition to any school or personal graphic novel collection.
Harper Collins Australia 2022
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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