Jay is starting eighth grade and his class schedule is mostly different from his friends, but he'll be OK as long as he can stay in art class. There, he has at least two acquaintances who are nice to him and can work on group projects with him. When Jay starts getting acne, it seems like a little problem at first, but when it becomes aggressive and no over-the-counter medicines work, he starts going to a specialist who prescribes some pretty intense medicine that comes with some awful side effects. He starts getting mood swings that make him irritable, and he has problems regulating his temperature so that wearing his signature hoodie is too much. He starts alienating even his classmates and can't understand the romantic feelings they express towards him, until one day when one introduces him to a term that seems to describe him perfectly: ace.
This is a pretty sweet, honest look at a difficult time in a lot of kids' lives when pressures to have romantic feelings and express crushes are at a high, and this book might help some kids understand that not only is it okay to be ace, but it's also okay to not feel pressured to reciprocate romantic feelings for others. Jay's classmate Mark is the kind of supportive and non-judgmental person I wish more kids could have in their lives because he's helpful, respectful, and validates Jay's feelings and emotions. Jay's struggle with acne is definitely something many readers will relate to and gives this book broad reach as a middle grade graphic novel.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-8
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
ISBN: 9780063032859 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Graphic Fiction, School Life, LGBTQ+, HarperAlley
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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