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.

A Work in Progress received a STARRED review from Publishers Weekly. Click HERE to read the review.

A Work in Progress received a STARRED review from Shelf Awareness. Click HERE to read the review.

Kirkus Reviews called A Work in Progress “a successful marriage of art and poetry.” They said “Lerner uses the format to great effect” and “writes very affecting scenes that will resonate with some readers and provide insight for others, shedding powerful light on boys’ body image struggles.” Click HERE to read the review.

A Work in Progress was also selected for the 2023 Global Read Aloud. Click HERE to learn more about that.

A Work in Progress was named a May/June 2023 Kids Indies Next Pick. Click HERE to see the full list.

Are you planning to use A Work in Progress in a classroom or library, or as part of a book club? Click HERE to download the book’s Educator’s Guide — it’s full of discussion questions, extension activities, and additional resources.