Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier


Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The author of the award-winning Smile returns with another graphic novel that captures the turmoil and thrill of being a teen.  Here the focus is on high school theater.  Callie loves theater, but not being an actress, instead her passion is set design and working behind the scenes.  This year she gets her big chance with the production of Moon over Mississippi as the main set designer.  She has a big vision, the question is whether she can pull it all off.  In particular, the cannon scene proves very challenging, but Callie knows she just has to have the cannon really fire on stage.  In the meantime, Callie is getting to know two handsome twins who are also interested in theater, enjoying her friendship with the other stage crew members, and dealing with lots of drama onstage and off. 

Telgemeier has created a graphic novel that both actors and those behind the scenes will love.  It is great to see a book focus on the efforts that it takes to really get a show running, rather than just who gets to be in the spotlight.  The story is welcoming and inclusive, just like any great theater crew.  There are gay characters, crushes on both the right and wrong people, mistakes on stage, and much more to love.  She has captured high school without being fanciful at all.

As with her previous book, Telgemeier’s art has a combination of empathy and humor.  She laughs along with her characters and never at them.  It’s a crucial difference that makes her books all the more laudable and readable. 

Highly recommended, this is one for the Glee fans and also for all of those teens who work behind the scenes rather than dreaming of time on stage.  Appropriate for ages 13-16.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.