Raina Telegemeier’s follow-up to her Eisner-winning autobiographical graphic memoir Smile (2010) focuses on seventh grader Callie and her involvement in the middle-school drama club. In a refreshing change from the typical school play-centered storyline, Callie has no aspirations to be a star, but is instead a proud member of the tech crew. Callie and her best friend, costume designer Liz, spend evenings together sketching their ideas and enthusiastically helping each other and the rest of the crew. But the title Drama doesn’t just refer to the play; romance is in the air for both cast and crew, and each member seems to have a crush on the next person—from girl to boy to boy and back again. Callie herself struggles with her crush on one boy who doesn’t return her feelings and another who wishes he could, and a few innocent kisses are exchanged. However, more than a teen love story, Drama is a wonderful tribute to the joys of teamwork, strong friendships, and pouring your heart into doing what you love. Featuring a diverse cast reflective of Telegemeier’s Bay Area upbringing, the drawings are in her signature Charles Schultz-esque cartoony style that nevertheless manage to convey much emotional expression with just a few simple lines. Full-color pictures included only in first 14 pages. Review based on an ARC.
Sally Engelfried, San Jose State Univ, Student