A Work in Progress (Hardcover)
May/June 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“A harrowing look at what can go through the mind of a young person, and serves as a cautionary tale: it’s important for all of us (not just kids) to love who we are. This outstanding, accessible book stands to be on shelves for a very long time.”
— Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, MA
Will is the only round kid in a school full of string beans. 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.
Jarrett Lerner is the award-winning creator of more than a dozen books for kids, including the EngiNerds series of middle grade novels, the Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, the Hunger Heroes series of graphic novel chapter books, two activity books, the illustrated novel in verse A Work in Progress, and the Nat the Cat series of early readers. You can find him online at JarrettLerner.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his wife and daughters in Massachusetts.
— --Kirkus Reviews
* "A perceptive representation of recovery and self-acceptance."
— --Publishers Weekly, starred review