There’s nothing quite like a nice middle grade book on a weekend afternoon. Friends, I tore through Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, a book with themes that were familiar to me and thus peaked my interest. ALSO! Drama is a graphic novel and I love those to pieces. I started the book today thinking, okay I will just read 50 pages. Oh, hey I will just read 100. Wait, wait, did I just read ALL THE PAGES? Seriously, I started reading at 8 a.m. and did not put this down until I finished it at 9 a.m. It took me an hour, but then, I am a 25 year old adult and not a 12 year old.
Callie, the main character, is a super huge fan of theater. However, she’s not one for the stage. Rather, Callie is on stage crew and specializes in set design. She’s in seventh grade, but that doesn’t stop her from being ambitious and hard working. This year, her school is producing Moon Over Mississippi. Callie wants the sets to be extra special, so she’s got some effects up her sleeve. The drama in Callie’s life isn’t just on-stage with the play though! She also has some boy drama going on as well.
Friends, Drama has a winner in Callie. She’s a GREAT protagonist. Loyal to her friends and hard working, Callie has two attributes that I really admire. Plus, omg, she is SO awkward when it comes to boys, I just love it. I also loved her passion for the stage and for set design. She has big dreams and it is awesome to see a girl so driven at such a young age. Plus, I could totally relate to her and her boy troubles at that age.
I think what I enjoyed the most about Raina Telgemeier’s Drama were the two elements of the theater and the inclusion of characters who are gay. You guys. I did theater stuff back in the day, including both of my middle school years (my middle school only had seventh and eighth grade). In seventh grade we did a play called Recess where I played Shirley the new kid. In eighth grade we did A Christmas Carol and I played urchin #1, I had one line solo – ‘ee’s a villain. I sang my freakin’ heart out of that one line. Anyways, the theater means a lot to me. I loved seeing the huge, entire background of the theater in Drama. Telgemeier totally nails it in her latest. I love all the little details and the pieces she includes, how the characters are a team — both the people on stage and the people backstage. Plus, stage crew is totally awesome and I have such a soft spot for them.
Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I just love that Telgemeier included gay characters, and like it wasn’t some big coming out story but characters who just happen to be gay. AND IN A MIDDLE GRADE BOOK NO LESS. Seriously Drama is the first middle grade book that I can actively remember reading that has gay characters. Unfortunately that means ignorant people will try to ban it because it portrays gay people in a positive light, but I just loved the characters who were. They were genuinely good, bubbly people.
I would be remiss if I did not discuss the graphics within a graphic novel. Telgemeier’s lines are clean and smooth. I think that if you liked the style of art within Anya’s Ghost, you will like Drama’s art. My copy starts out in color, but then switches to black and white. I have to say that the color makes a huge difference. Not that black and white was bad, but the color really makes it pop. Plus, I think reluctant readers will flock to this book.
Honestly, I think Drama by Raina Telgemeier is a coming of age story that should totally be in a classroom library. It definitely has kid appeal for both girls and boys. Plus, the graphic novel form is a great way for kids to practice literacy in a different form and it’s wonderful way to tell the story. Also in this day and age of bullying, kids should get the chance to see gay people in a positive light. I loved Drama and I will definitely be looking for a copy of Smile in the near future.
Disclosure: Received for review
Other reviews of Drama by Raina Telgemeier:
Rather Be Reading – “I can only describe Drama as a total delight”
Vikki Vansickle On Writing, Reading, & Other Pipedreams – “I have a mad girl crush on Raina Telgemeier”
A Book And A Latte – “a fun read full of heart, with great graphics”