Book Cover Image:
Image Credit: Campbell County Public Library. (2015) http://www.ccpls.org
Callie’s life is filled with middle school drama of all sorts. She thinks she really likes Greg, but Greg is pining over Bonnie, who seems to want nothing to do with him. When Greg and Callie kiss, she thinks life can’t get better; when he ignores her the next day, she thinks life can’t get worse. Drama! Thankfully, she has her best friend, Liz, and her love of theater to distract her from the rejection. This year, the school is producing Moon over Mississippi, a musical; Callie knows she won’t try out for acting parts, but she is dying to try her hand at set production. Callie has a close group of friends in the theater, and makes new friends when twin brothers become involved. Through the drama of romantic ups and downs, set failures, a disastrous eighth grade formal, and even a bothersome little brother, Callie knows the “show must go on.”
APA Reference of Book:
I didn’t think I would enjoy Drama, as I don’t read many graphic novels. However, I quickly became engrossed in the story and the visual images: reading this novel made me remember how I loved comic books when I was younger. Telgemeier tells the entire story, of course, in dialogue between characters, supplementing their conversations with pictures that reveal facial expressions, postures, and mannerisms that help the reader understand each character. She handles sensitive material about sexual orientation matter-of-factly, making that part of the story, but not the focus of the story. In the end, she’s created a likeable middle school female character, one whose passion for her hobby and strong friendships helps her develop a self esteem that isn’t dependent on romantic relationships.
“Like Telgemeier’s previous graphic novel, Smile (a 2010 Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book), this new one will appeal to a wide range of readers. Seventh-grader Callie Marin loves musical theater, and though she isn’t much of a singer (which she good-naturedly proves to all in a hilarious scene), she expresses and fulfills her passion by working as a set designer for the school drama club. Her second year on stage crew turns out to be fraught with drama, on and off the set. Not only is the musical a love story, but in real life Callie has a crush on eighth-grader Greg, whose younger brother (and fellow stage-crew member) has a secret crush on Callie. Greg, however, is dating Bonnie, who dumps him for her costar in the play, West, who eventually dumps her for the boy whom Callie has just begun to like. Then Greg asks Callie out. Phew! But Telgemeier handles it all with aplomb and, despite the romantic drama, nothing happens beyond a few innocent kisses. She gets her middle-school characters just right–from kids who, like Justin, are gay and know it (“Gay? You can say it! I don’t mind”) to those who, like Callie, wouldn’t recognize a gay guy if he clasped his hands and squee-ed over musical auditions, as Justin does when they first meet. As in Smile, Telgemeier’s graphic artist skills make this novel a pleasure to read and re-read; of special note is her thoughtful use of the page turn–for surprise, for a pause, for emotional effect. “
This graphic novel can be part of several book displays: displays about cartooning and graphic art; displays featuring LGBTQ young adult literature; or displays about theater production.