Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Middle school. Drama. The two are synonymous.  Put them together as "middle school drama," and heck, it just ups the ante.  Callie is a seventh grade theater geek who can't sing a bar.  She also seems to have a chronic problem of crushing on the wrong guy.  But she doesn't let her lack of musicality stop her from getting involved; she is a faithful member of stage crew and devotes herself to doing a "bang" up job designing sets on a limited budget, including - she hopes - a confetti cannon.  As for romance, she's working on getting that right, too.

What I Love:

  • Callie's purple hair (pink in the front), which is similar to several students at my middle school
  • Twins Justin and Jesse who are both best friends and individuals with distinct personalities
  • Raina Telgemeier's simple, well-drawn, full color illustrations. Oh yeah, it's a graphic novel!
  • How it's a play (Moon Over Mississippi) within a play (the overall structure of the novel)
  • The drama.  From unrequited crushes to on-stage catastrophes, it feels authentic
  • A diverse cast of boys, girls, gays, Asians, African-Americans, glasses-clad kids, athletes and drama queens (and kings).  No matter who you are, it's not just okay to be yourself, it is imperative.
Read it if:
  • You were/are/aspire to be a drama nerd
  • You watch Glee (yes, this is drama, not show choir, but it has a similar feel)
  • Contemporary fiction (with a little romance) is your thing
  • You want something quick and entertaining, but don't want to slack on story or characters
I'm ashamed to say that I haven't yet had a chance to read Telgemeier previous graphic novel, Smile, which won the 2011 Eisner Award (basically the Oscars for comics) for Best Publication for Teens.  I'll have to get on that.

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