Raina Telgemeier, author of last year’s incredibly popular and incredibly awesome graphic novel of growing up and losing teeth, Smile, has done it again. This year readers will be treated to her newest story of new friends, new loves, and new experiences with Drama. Set within the complicated world of middle school, we meet Callie and her extensive cast of friends. Callie loves the theatre, but was born with a less than stage-worthy singing voice. Lucky for Callie she found the amazingly welcoming world of stage design, and she’s been dreaming of creating the best stage sets ever since. Along with her best friend and costume designer extraordinaire Liz and lights master Mike, the entire set crew is filled with friends, foes, and possible loves. Add to the mix the ensemble cast of her school’s musical production, Moon over Mississippi, and you’ve got even more potential for drama galore!
Callie’s got a big time crush on her friend Mike’s older brother Greg, but when he kisses and runs, Callie figures she’s better off without him. And, just when Callie thinks things are finally getting back to normal after the big kiss, into her life walk two awesome twins, Jesse and Justin, who introduce Callie to bubble tea and the possibility of new love on the horizon. Jesse is the shy one who wants to give his twin the spotlight. Justin is the super talented singer who just has to try out for the school’s musical. The friendship between the three is incredibly sweet and funny, and when Justin finally comes out to Callie, readers can see that Callie really has found wonderful friends who aren’t in her life to play games with her emotions. As the year progresses and it’s almost opening night for Moon over Mississippi, Callie begins to wonder if she’s starting to fall for Jesse. But, when Greg makes a last minute appearance in her life, Callie’s got to wonder – does she really want all the drama?
In this wonderfully written and illustrated story of middle school confusion, heartbreak and second chances, readers will enjoy following Callie on her journey through a year’s musical production. The book is set up in a really cute way: no chapters, a break in the action or a change of scenery results in different acts, overtures, and intermissions. Although in the advanced reader copy I read the book is in color and black and white, the finished book will be in bright color which lends definite personality to each character. Raina’s drawings are, as always, wonderfully done with each character having their own distinct personality exhibited both through their words and visually through her pen. Also, the incredibly complex and diverse cast is extremely refreshing; a real world is made in this book, one that is representative of middle school life. Each character’s voice is extremely genuine. Raina has done an awesome job of putting the middle school experience into graphic novel form. Both adults who enjoy reliving their younger days as well as kids and teens who want stories that reflect their own lives will enjoy this funny and touching story. Drama is a wonderful story of adolescence and all its fun and faults.
by Raina Telgemeier
Graphix Scholastic, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 9-13