Drama by Raina Telgemeier

DramaDrama by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so thrilled that there is a female protagonist who loves theatre and isn’t dying to be onstage. Callie is a great role model for pre-teens and teens alike as she is the master of her own learning of stagecraft in order to help put on the school production of Moon over Mississippi. She encounters some very mature problems of how to work through her own limitations. She is also introduced to a couple of brothers who are new at the school and they teach her about making new friends. Telgemeier is able to call attention to the young character’s budding sexuality, openly recognizing that one of these characters are gay, without making it dominate the rest of Callie’s own story. The struggle she experiences is emphasized through the organziation of the novel into Acts, mimicking the structure of a play. I would recommend this book for students as young as grade 5 as long as they understand that it essentially explores ideas of romance. As a teacher, I think it could lead to some very real discussions with students who are confronted with the ideas of homosexuality for the first time in a school situation. I applaud Telgemeier’s bravery for writing this book. It’s not just a brave book…it’s a funny, endearing book about the awkwardness of first love.

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The Taming by Eric Walters and Teresa Toten

The TamingThe Taming by Teresa Toten

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I expect high things from anything that Eric Walters puts his name on. After the Ontario Library Association nominated this as one of the best Canadian young adult fiction of the year, I expected even more. Until halfway through I thought I had found a predictable teen romance. When our main character Katie’s life starts to imitate her art on the stage of her high school Shakespeare production, I became engrossed. The rest of the story strikes me as very true dealing with the bizarre power struggles that sometimes arise in first love relationships. Although I wish that the ending will be true in the case of most young people caught in Katie’s circumstance, it was a bit too hopeful to be believable. This book would suit most of the readers who would pick it up…young females searching for love.

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