Review by Sonia Franzen
Middle school has enough drama already.
But that doesn’t stop Callie from loving theater. Though, she faces a problem: she can’t sing. Instead, she becomes a member of the crew and works to create the best middle school set of Moon Over Mississippi. Throughout the novel she finds herself stumbling through friendships, boys, and, of course, ticket sales. And when two cute new brothers come into the picture, you can only imagine the drama that happens on and off stage!
This graphic novel is narrated in the comic book style. Telgemeier’s signature technique is blending the verbal narrative with the pictorial story in a way that we don’t feel like we’re reading a comic: hers is a happy blending of the two. An artistic highlight is the author’s uncanny way of showing emotion. The combination of text and illustrations that evokes empathy, but also relief and acceptance of the awkwardly imperfect time that middle school is. All praise to Raina Telgemeier who yet again wows her audience with a graphic novel perfectly depicting the horrifically wonderful time of adolescence.
Narrated by an eleven year old protagonist, Drama is story about finding oneself, about loyalty between friends, and about discovering love. That being said, Telgemeier’s target audience would be anyone in middle school and up. Younger children could read this novel too if they have advanced reading skills. Drama is also a discussion starter in how it normalizes homosexuality. It gives children going through a similar situation a story to empathize with, which is an important thing for coming of age books. At the same time, the novel provides a window for other readers to see a world they may not have been aware of before. And, what makes it different from other homosexual love stories is: Drama does not make a big deal that a character is gay. There isn’t any large coming out story, nor rejection from the public. It is just two boys and a young girl discovering themselves and their peers through their theatre club.
Scholastic Books, 2012
Sonia studies Journalism in Strategic Communications and is deathly afraid of wild turkeys.