Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Drama Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Sharp, funny graphic novel captures chaos of theater.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 86 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Drama presents a detailed and realistic picture of what it takes, onstage and backstage, to produce an ambitious piece of musical theater.

Positive Messages

It takes many hands to put on a school musical, and Drama emphasizes that teamwork sometimes trumps talent. Everyone has his or her part to play, and when disaster looms, it's honesty and hard work that save the day.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist, Callie, is a realistically depicted seventh-grade girl who's eager to make Moon Over Mississippi a Broadway-worthy production. She works hard but has to learn to temper her enthusiasm with a sense of reality about what's possible on a middle school budget. She also has to learn to deal with her feelings about two cute brothers who join the show.


The story addresses middle school characters' sexual orientation and depicts same-sex and opposite-sex crushes. In one scene, Jesse, a boy, kisses West, a boy, when playing the part of a girl. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Drama is a funny, affecting look at what it takes to put on a middle school musical. The story emphasizes the need for teamwork, both on stage and backstage. Some readers may be uncomfortable with the graphic novel's depiction of homosexual crushes between young teens, but the author treats the subject with discretion and there's no depiction of romantic contact between members of the same sex. One male character is forthrightly gay, while another seems uncertain about his sexuality. In one scene, a boy playing the part of a girl kisses another boy. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycatapault November 8, 2013

There is a little more to the story . . .

It's important to know that this book addresses the homosexuality of twin 8th grade boys, both of which come out to the central character in the book. Cas... Continue reading
Adult Written byErinS10 May 19, 2015


The sexual content is completely inappropriate for children of the age that will want to read this book.
Kid, 11 years old October 15, 2014

Absolutely Perfect

I wanted to just say that all of you saying things like, "I love Raina's books but the gay stuff made this one terrible" and "This book is S... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykrankri July 27, 2015

Calm yourselves.

Look guys, I keep seeing these people that dislike these openly gay characters and believe that it's harmful for the "innocent" children but face... Continue reading

What's the story?

Seventh-grader Callie's passion for theater is expressed through her work backstage, rather than by aiming for the spotlight. When her middle school prepares a production of the musical Moon Over Mississippi, Callie has ambitious ideas for building the sets so that the play is Broadway-worthy. But the reality of a small budget, unimpressive ticket sales, and a fractious backstage crew threaten to puncture Callie's dream. Add in a series of romantic misunderstandings, and Callie has her hands full.

Is it any good?

Written with affection and humor, DRAMA captures the excitement and chaos of producing an ambitious school musical. Author-illustrator Raina Telgemeier creates an engaging cast of diverse personality types and sets up engaging conflicts for them to resolve. Her depiction of same-sex crushes in middle school may make some readers uncomfortable, but the issue is handled with subtlety and sensitivity.

Telgemeier's cartoony artwork has the humor and expressiveness of an "Archie" comic in its prime, but with a slightly younger -- and more diverse -- cast of characters. (Although more distinctive features or wardrobes for brothers Jesse and Justin might have provided some welcome narrative clarity.) 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the graphic novel format. How is it effective in telling the story of Drama

  • Does Drama give you a good idea of what it takes to stage an ambitious school musical? Does this book make you want to work on a school production?

  • Why is it sometimes difficult to try new activities? What prevents kids from exploring unfamiliar social circles?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and school stories

Themes & Topics

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