Telgemeier, Raina. 2012. Drama. New York: Scholastic.
Drama is Raina Telgemeier’s newest graphic novel, following her
bestseller, Smile (GRAPHIX 2010). Drama, written in “acts” rather
than chapters, follows Callie, a seventh grader deep into preparations
for the Eucalyptus Middle School play. The play is a musical; Drama’s
“drama” stems from typical middle school relationships. Callie likes Greg, Greg
likes Bonnie, Bonnie and Greg are fighting, Matt is upset, and there’s a pair
of new kids at school - twins, who may or may not fit into the school’s
adolescent romantic mix. Add Callie’s desire to create the best exploding
cannon prop ever and a limited amount of time to complete the show, and the
drama is complete.
Telgemeier’s full-color illustrations have clean lines and the panels are
straightforward,easy to follow. Emotion is capably demonstrated in the many
variations of the character’s eyes and the dialogue will ring true with
middle-schoolers, particularly those in band or drama clubs.
This is a solid addition to middle-grade graphic novels like Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules! series (Atheneum), and is particularly noteworthy for its prominent depiction
of gay students. Telgemeier breaks new ground in introducing gay characters to
a novel for younger readers (ages 10 and up). What makes it noteworthy is the
fact that it is not. The new students are folded into the story without fanfare
or drama, just as gay students all around the country are woven into the fabric
of their school communities without fanfare or drama. As it should be.