So Not the Drama

Common Sense Media says

Race-aware teen series start overflows with plots.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's more to life than being popular. Race and class issues affect high school social dynamics and politics.

Positive role models

One character deals drugs, another remains snotty until the end, and another threatens several fights. There is some tension between two male characters after one begins to design costumes for the theater department, putting his sexuality in question.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Some swear words.


BMW, the May Company, some characters are obsessed with shopping and style, plus the chapters begin with lines from songs.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character sells drugs, another has a mother in rehab.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book deals with some serious topics having to do with race, sexuality, and class. One character deals drugs, another remains snotty until the end, and another threatens several fights. There is some tension between two male characters after one begins to design costumes for the theater department, putting his sexuality in question.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Mina starts high school with one goal: popularity. But when she enrolls in a sociology class, the teacher pushes her to think about her prejudices. She is paired with three very different girls -- a label lover, a quiet girl, and a loud girl from the projects -- and their interactions raise questions about race, class, and popularity. Her pre-existing friendships with a white drama girl, a jock, and a possibly-gay boy also cause Mina (and her clique) to think, debate, and come to more mature resolutions.

Is it any good?


This kickoff to a new series is so thick, it's hard to wade through. The perspective and storylines change constantly, which can be overwhelming for young readers, though all of these characters and plot points will certainly give the author plenty of room to grow her series.

On the plus side, the dialogue, diary entries, and IM exchanges have a lively and authentic feel. ("Come on now. We girls. No one knows more about me than you," Mina tells Lizzie.) And there is plenty to think about -- from race and class issues to the politics of the high school lunch room. The author even includes a readers' group discussion guide.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Mina's quest for popularity. There have been many stories about teens who think they want to be popular but learn to be real instead; can you think of movies and other books that have that same theme? Why is that so appealing to young readers?

Book details

Author:Paula Chase
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dafina Books
Publication date:February 27, 2007
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):14
Read aloud:13
Read alone:13

This review of So Not the Drama was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byshay byrd October 24, 2010
i love this book my daughter loves these books by paula chase she wishes she makes them into movies !!!! can you
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Popularity Aint easy LOL

This was a good book. It teaches alot kids how you should be yourself,stay true. Popularity is something good, but how far some people go for it like wow. It tells you that you should always be happy for your friend no matter what they are doing. Like Kelly said "popularity aint easy" ( Kelly is a character from the book .)


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