I’ll start by getting the controversial out of the way first. This is a middle grade book, featuring middle school aged characters, a book aimed at 9-12ish years of age. And one of the characters is gay. So if you’re a parent and that’s something that will bother you, keep that in mind. For me, personally, it didn’t bother me, and I say that coming from a conservative perspective. It is definitely presented as a situation where being gay is not a big deal, so parents you may want to use that to start a conversation with your children. Personally, I am of the opinion that a child in middle school doesn’t know enough about him/herself to know if he/she is gay yet, but that’s a discussion for a different medium.
Moving on to the book itself, I have to start by saying that I love Raina Telgemeier’s books. I have read pretty much every one she’s done, and Smile in particular ranks up there in my favorite books of all time. That being said, I felt something was missing in Drama. There were parts of it that I loved. The artwork and characterization is spectacular as always, and I enjoyed the theater aspect greatly because it reminded me of my (brief) stint in high school theater. But as mentioned above I just didn’t feel like there was much of a plot. Callie seemed a little too boy crazy for my taste (although I realize some girls are really like that), I just felt like it didn’t gel well with the whole theater plot thread. I will also say that I wasn’t very happy with the shoehorned climax at the school dance, which I won’t talk more about because it would give the ending away. But it just felt a tad too cliché for me.
All that being said, I would still recommend this, especially if like me you’re a fan of Telgemeier’s other books. I just think it’s going to need to find the right audience to really enjoy it.
Shady Glade Rating: 3 leaves
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