Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Drama by Raina Telgemeier [Graphic Novel]

By Raina Telgemeier
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9780545326995

I put in an order for this book because girls in my junior school library were thoroughly enjoying Raina Telgemeier's earlier autobiographical graphic novels Smile and Sisters - the first about her years with braces (with just a little bit of boy trouble) and the second about the relationship with her sister.

I loved these two books and Drama was just as good, but for an older age group than my junior school girls. Middle school is where its at and Drama explores lots of the issues that girls, and boys, start to experience at that age, including first love, and same-sex attraction,.

Callie has always enjoyed drama; her middle school is putting on a show and she is determined to be a part of it. She's not much of a singer so she takes on the set design role in the stage crew and comes up with a very complex plan which not everyone is convinced can work. There's drama on-stage and off, and a fabulous pair of brothers, one extrovert and one introvert, who also happens to be a great singer but is too shy to appear in the show. If you've ever been part of a production like this you'll know it's a very intense time for all involved but the payoff when it all goes to plan - or otherwise, and everyone pulls together, is triumphant, though a little hard not to feel deflated when it's all over. It was marvellous having the main character be part of the stage crew - the very important people who are so often not acknowledged. They are a brilliantly geeky bunch.

The book is cleverly structured like a stage performance too, complete with an overture and intermission. The artwork is very well done, I love all the different perspectives she's used and her use of colour.

So I didn't add Drama to the junior school library, but when those girls get to middle school they'll be just the right age for it.

I've enjoyed exploring Raina Telgemeier's website, and you can take a look at the preview for her next graphic novel, coming out later this year - Ghosts about an 11-year-old girl.

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