Drama is similar in tone and character to Telgemeier’s earlier work, Smile.
The story is built around the musical theatre production at Eucalyptus Middle School. The main character–a 7th grader named Callie–is an enthusiastic member of the stage crew. Present at pre-production, auditions, rehearsals and performances, one aspect of the book allows the reader a good understanding of the fun and complicated process of creating a live theatrical production.
The other storyline is of course dedicated to Callie’s personal life. Callie has a crush on a boy that is not returned. In the midst of this hurt she meets twin brothers Justin and Jesse. These new friendships help Callie to lessen her obsession with the object of her crush. She can now focus instead on the joys that come with true friendship and support. In her Author’s Note at the back of the book Raina Telgemeier says of her middle and high school involvement in theatre:
In a way, those years of my life helped me to find my voice and gave me a wealth of artistic material to draw from.
The story is fun and light in tone; the illustrations are the complementary flat jewel tones found in Telgemeier’s work. A graphic novel in format, Drama is tightly plotted and reads smoothly from beginning to end. This is a terrific independent reading choice for grade 3 and above! (Also recommended is Smile by the same author!)