A WORK IN PROGRESS by Jarrett Lerner Book Review!
A Work in Progress By Jarrett Lerner
268 illustrated pages $17.99,
Published May 2, 2023,
Ages: 8-12 Rating: PG
A young boy struggles with body image in this poignant middle grade journey to self-acceptance told through prose, verse, and illustration.
Will is the only round kid in a school full of this ones. So he hides…in baggy jeans and oversized hoodies, in the back row during class, and anywhere but the cafeteria during lunch. But shame isn’t the only feeling that dominates Will’s life. He’s also got a crush on a girl named Jules who knows he doesn’t have a chance with—string beans only date string beans—but he can’t help wondering what if?
Will’s best shot at attracting Jules’s attention is by slaying the Will Monster inside him by changing his eating habits and getting more exercise. But the results are either frustratingly slow or infuriatingly unsuccessful, and Will’s shame begins to morph into self-loathing.
As he resorts to increasingly drastic measures to transform his appearance, Will meets skateboarder Markus, who helps him see his body and all it contains as an ever-evolving work in progress.
Review By LAWonder10:
This book is a quick, easy read. It is mostly prose that uses excess paper with slightly comical black-and-white illustrations. However, it is a valuable book for children – especially teens – who have self-image issues and for great ideas on how to support them without them going on the defense.
It is a great book on bullying, unconditional friendship, acceptance, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Iy is written for older elementary age and middle-grade age, nut it is a beneficial book to read by adults, as well.
Personally, I thought the drawings were a bit extreme in a juvenile way. I also feel that the verse was too small and was a waste of paper. However, the message is a very important one and could be a valuable tool for discussion. It is “A Work in Progress”!
I offer a Three and a Hald Stars rating.
This book was gifted me with no pressure to post a positive review. This is my honest review.
Meet the Author:
Author-illustrator Jarrett Lerner is the award-winning creator of the EngiNerds series of Middle Grade novels, the Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, the activity books Give This Book a Title and Give This Book a Cover, The Hunger Heroes series of graphic novel chapter books, and the Nat the Cat series of early readers.
Jarrett is also the creator of the forthcoming illustrated novel in verse A Work in Progress, as well as several as-yet-unannounced projects. All of Jarrett’s books are published by Simon & Schuster.
In addition to writing, drawing, and visiting schools and libraries across the country, Jarrett co-founded and co-organizes the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects, and regularly spearheads fundraisers for various reading- and book-related causes. He is also the founder and operator of Jarrett Lerner’s Creator Club. He can be found at jarrettlerner.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his wife and daughters in Massachusetts.