Eucalyptus Middle School’s annual musical is Moon over Mississippi and Callie is psyched! She is a die-hard member of the stage crew and is thrilled to be in charge of sets for this year’s production. With ambitious design ideas, Callie has her hands full and isn’t sure if she’ll be able to pull it off. Thankfully, she has some great friends working with her on the show, including cute twins Justin and Jesse, but when she falls for one of them, she isn’t sure what to do. It’s not until after the near-catastrophic final performance that things become clear, and there’s lots of entertaining drama on the way!
For me the most important element of a graphic novel is the art. Even if the plot and dialogue are amazing, I almost never read anything that is aesthetically unappealing. That being said, I love Raina Telgemeier’s style and wanted to read Drama based on the cover art alone. And once I picked it up, I ripped through it. The plot isn’t complicated — students work together on a musical and even though crushes develop (resulting in unrequited love) and various other conflicts and technical difficulties arise, the show must go on — but within the basic outline of the story, Telgemeier thoughtfully explores adolescent perspectives and issues (including homosexuality) that haven’t made it into other teen graphic novels. Her accurate depiction of the highs and lows of middle school make this a fun read for adults, but is great for 6th-8th graders — girls more so than boys — because I think many will identify with the characters and the trials and tribulations they face as young adolescents.