Sunday, January 27, 2013

Graphic is Great: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

It has been too long since I've reviewed a graphic novel!  Let me share with you my thoughts on Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Checkouts: Coming soon to both libraries
Typical reader: Tween and teen girls and anyone else interested in theater or Ms. Telgemeier's works
Source: I couldn't pass up a signed copy that was available at Snowbound Books!

Synopsis: Callie loves theater, and she's thrilled when her middle school's drama production is announced to be the musical Moon Over Mississippi.  Singing isn't her thing, but she'll still be happily busy backstage, making the set worthy of Broadway.  But relationship drama of all sorts can be a bit distracting ...

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

I read Smile by this author a couple years ago, when it showed up in a Scholastic book fair.  That book is a nonfiction graphic novel, an autobiography of Raina and her teeth.  It's both amusing and horrifying.  I'd really recommend it for anyone who has suffered orthodontics or cosmetic dental work - but is not too squeamish.

Ms. Telgemeier has a great, unique art style.  It's very expressive.  Would you get what I mean if I say that it's cartoony yet realistic?  Because that's what I feel it is.  There's also great attention to detail, with foreshadowing that's handled well.  For instance, Callie finds a dress in the theater's storage area that doesn't suit the play.  But there will be some use for it later!

This graphic novel is a lot of fun.  The characters are all so vivacious in their quirky, adolescent ways.  They strike me as being older than middle school students - and I honestly don't know of any middle schools that can put on such large theatrical productions - but then again, I do find my 7th graders to be mature until hormones hit their brains and make them weird, haha.  Anyway, the characters are quirky, trying to find their places in life, exploring the labyrinths of relationships, and pursuing their interests.

Callie is quite the adaptable protagonist.  She's perhaps a little boy-crazy, but she can also roll with the punches.  Through the play, she meets and befriends two brothers, Justin and Jesse.  She crushes on Justin, but quickly finds out through talking with him that he's gay.  (He's a bit stereotypically so, being flamboyant and into theater.)  Callie has no problem with this, treating him just as nicely as ever and setting her sights on Jesse, the shyer, quieter brother who will be on stage crew with her.

This review was delayed last week due to inclement weather - or maybe just poor maintenance practices on the part of the local internet service provider.  Anyway, I feel like this was meant to wait.  Last night I saw the local youth theater's production of The Little Mermaid, Jr. (all actors 18 and under) and it was fantastic.  It's fun to tie life's experiences in with a book you're currently reading, or have read.  Both the cast of the real-life play and the one in this book are so talented.  Plus, perhaps some of my students who were involved will want to continue thinking about theater, and read this book.

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