Drama – Raina Telgemeier

Drama

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Drama by Raina Telgemeier is a bestselling graphic novel about middle school students and their upcoming theatre production. It is a Stonewall Book award winner, due to its LGBTQ+ content but that is also why it has been challenged so many times and removed from schools’ collections. It is because it has been challenged so many times that I had to read this book for class and (as I suspect most of you will feel) realized that it is an adorable portrayal of the middle school experience and a must read for those formative years of your life. It is a coming of age story that deals with identity and figuring out who you are.

Our main character is Callie, a girl who loves theatre but since she doesn’t have a musical bone in her body has become obsessed with set design. She is joined by her best friend and a whole host of drama kids. Although I thought the characters were cute, I definitely felt that they behaved as though they were older than 7th or 8th grade. I would frequently forget that I was supposed to be reading about middle school students because they felt more like high school students. I found all of the main characters to be mildly likable but not particularly memorable, so I can honestly tell you I’ve already forgotten half of their names.

As this was a graphic novel, a lot of story had to be told in a short period of time. The artwork was cute and brightly colored, which added to the theatre ambiance of the story. I do wish that we have been able to experience more character development because that would have given me a stronger connection to the characters. Sometimes the pacing just felt as though it jumped forward without any explanation as to why things were progressing the way that they were.

Overall, this was a cute and fast read (I probably finished it in 35 minutes). I think that it would appeal to middle school readers, even if they weren’t particularly interested in theatre – but those who are will definitely love this portrayal. It gives you a taste of the ‘behind the scenes’ of a production, which will strike a lot of true notes if you’ve ever been a stagehand or performer yourself. I think that it’s a relatively light and fluffy way to broach the topics of coming of age and figuring out who you are for younger readers who don’t quite understand how to be accepting of everyone yet, and there is no reason that this should be banned from schools.

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