Recommended for ages 10-14
Drama geeks have their day in Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, a winner of the 2013 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association. Seventh-grader Callie loves the theatre, even if she can’t hold a tune with a bucket. She’s active on the crew with her school’s theatre group and is set designer for their upcoming production of Moon Over Mississippi. But, as with most tweens, there’s drama in Callie’s personal life in addition to the drama unfolding in the production as she crushes on Greg, who doesn’t seem to be able to give up his on-again, off-again girlfriend Bonnie. She becomes fast friends with new-to-the-school twin brothers Justin and Jesse, both of whom get involved in the production, and she finds herself falling for one of the twins… but he’s sending mixed messages. Can Callie use her shoestring budget to pull together a great set, and figure out her crush drama at the same time?
Raina Telgemeier won an Eisner Award for her previous graphic novel, Smile – another tween drama – and she knows tweens. She can tap into the not-so-in-crowd with ease, telling a great story about the kids you may not see at the cool table, but who aren’t at the angsty goth table, either. Their drama is self-contained, part of growing up, but these seem to be overall happy kids, most of whom have a decent idea of who they are or are on their way to figuring it out. She includes positive, honest-feeling portrayals of LGBT characters. The cartoon art allows the reader to relax into the story and just melt into the setting. I enjoyed spending time with Raina’s characters, and look forward to meeting some more when I pick up Smile.
Ms. Telgemeier’s website offers free webcomics and media, her blog, author appearance information, and a store.