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Callie is the set designer for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi. She has a lot on her plate between school, constructing a magnolia tree, and trying to build a stage cannon that fires without pyrotechnics. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have time for crushes and heartbreak. Drama doesn’t just refer to the school play; it also refers to Callie’s personal life. But with the understanding and help of good friends, she finds her way through the school year.
I liked Callie and her theatre geek crew! (I was a band geek myself.) Callie is outgoing and unashamedly enthusiastic in her passions. She’s a great friend and encourages others at every opportunity.
She’s also in 7th grade, at an age when boys and girls are developing school romances. This group of schoolmates sure gets around! I was a shy girl myself (and still am) so all the breaking up, getting back together, breaking up again, then finding a new romantic interest made my head spin. Still, I observed all of this from the sidelines during my own schooldays so it rang true.
Some of Callie’s friends are discovering that they’re gay and just starting to come out. Callie rolls with it. She’s a little awkward at first, learning what terminology is okay and what she can ask, but she also tries hard to keep any secrets she’s aware of. Within a frame or two, she’s found her footing with these new developments and continues treating her friends just like she always has.
I loved the colorful illustrations, the pacing of the story, and the divisions into the “Overture”, “Act I,” etc. It added to the dramatic feel.
I highly recommend this fun little book for everyone. We live in a gloriously diverse world and Callie sets an example of loving acceptance that we should all aspire to.
Banned Books Week:
Drama has actually been banned (not just challenged) several times. I bet you can’t guess why–parents object to the inclusion of gay characters. But representation is so important! This book is aimed at the exact age group where kids might be starting to find out they’re gay. Books like this show them their feelings are normal, even if narrow-minded parents would censor them. They also show hetero kids that it’s okay to be friends with gay people. We’re all just people, aren’t we? Love is something we can always use more of in this world. So why can’t we all just accept each other as we are?
If you liked Drama, you might also like my reviews of
- Melissa (Formerly Published as George) by Alex Gino
- Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
- Blankets by Craig Thompson
Buy Drama from Malaprop’s Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC or