Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Callie loves the theater, even if she can't sing well enough to perform in her beloved musicals. But when drama and romance—both onstage and off—cause problems, Callie finds that set design may be the easiest part of putting on a play. Telgemeier is prodigiously talented at telling cheerful stories with realistic portrayals of middle-school characters. Callie is likable, hardworking, and enthusiastic, but she is as confused about relationships and love as any young teen, and she flits from crush to crush in a believable fashion. Nonactors will love having a spotlight shine on the backstage action, but even those who shun the stage will identify with this roller-coaster ride through young teen emotions. In addressing issues such as homosexuality, Drama is more teen oriented than Telgemeier's elementary-school-friendly Smile (2010). Her deceptively simple art may seem cartoonish, but it is grounded in a firm sense of style and washed in warm colors to give the story an open, welcoming feel. In this realistic and sympathetic story, feelings and thoughts leap off the page, revealing Telgemeier's keen eye for young teen life. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Seventh-grader Callie loves musical theater, but she isn't much of a singer, so she works as a set designer for the school drama club. Her second year on stage crew is fraught with drama, on and off the set. Telgemeier gets her middle-school characters just right, and her graphic artist skills make this novel a pleasure to read and re-read.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Like Telgemeier's previous graphic novel, Smile (a 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book), this new one will appeal to a wide range of readers. Seventh-grader Callie Marin loves musical theater, and though she isn't much of a singer (which she good-naturedly proves to all in a hilarious scene), she expresses and fulfills her passion by working as a set designer for the school drama club. Her second year on stage crew turns out to be fraught with drama, on and off the set. Not only is the musical a love story, but in real life Callie has a crush on eighth-grader Greg, whose younger brother (and fellow stage-crew member) has a secret crush on Callie. Greg, however, is dating Bonnie, who dumps him for her costar in the play, West, who eventually dumps her for the boy whom Callie has just begun to like. Then Greg asks Callie out. Phew! But Telgemeier handles it all with aplomb and, despite the romantic drama, nothing happens beyond a few innocent kisses. She gets her middle-school characters just right -- from kids who, like Justin, are gay and know it ("Gay? You can say it! I don't mind") to those who, like Callie, wouldn't recognize a gay guy if he clasped his hands and squee-ed over musical auditions, as Justin does when they first meet. As in Smile, Telgemeier's graphic artist skills make this novel a pleasure to read and re-read; of special note is her thoughtful use of the page turn -- for surprise, for a pause, for emotional effect. jennifer m. brabander

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Seventh-grader Callie has been in love with the stage ever since she saw Les Miz when she was younger. Since her singing skills leave much to be desired, she's forged a place for herself at the drama club as the set decorator. While her love for the stage is clear, which boy she loves is a different matter. Is it Greg, the handsome eighth-grade jock who trifled with her while on a break from his diva girlfriend, Bonnie? Or Justin, the cute boy who is playing the comic relief in the middle school production of Moon over Mississippi?—who happens to be gay. Or what about his twin brother, Jesse, who isn't gay and is helping Callie with set decorating? The author follows up her award-winning graphic novel Smile with another dead-on look at the confusing world of middle school, sweetly capturing all the drama swirling around the school production: from jealousies and misunderstandings to the last-minute surprise stage substitution that may not make a star, but helps settle who likes who. Telgemeier's manga-infused art has some moments of heartache, but the generally cheerful and affirming story should be eagerly devoured by her many fans. Ages 9–13. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5–8—Callie has ambitious plans for her school's production of Moon Over Mississippi. She has more to contend with than the logistics of building a working stage cannon, though, including the tension between stage crew and actors and her confusion about her new friend, Jesse. Does he like her, or is he gay like his twin brother? Telgemeier deftly portrays the ambiguity of sexual identity in the middle-school years in a story that simultaneously appeals to that audience. Callie is a strong character, confident in her ability as an artist and warm and friendly to her peers. She and her fellow students grin frequently, to the point of seeming unrealistically well adjusted. More often, however, Telgemeier is just showing the best side of teens. "Keep it professional," the stage crew head tells the group, and they do. The full-color cartoon-style illustrations are graceful, assured, and, along with the twists and turns of the plot, guarantee an entertaining and enlightening read.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

[Page 129]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

Excited drama students eagerly volunteer for stage crew slots in their middle school's musical. Among them, Callie is thrilled to be designing the sets. She has already read the play and is planning her magnum opus, a pretend cannon that really fires a burst of confetti with a loud boom. Making it work turns out to be quite a challenge right up to the last minute. She puts her unrequited crush on Greg out of the way and delves into her set-building. She's not the only one struggling with love issues. Other hard-working members of the crew and cast wonder if they will have partners for the eighth-grade formal. Then last-minute crises threaten to sink the production and they must call on their strengths to save the play Charmingly told, this novel in words and pictures draws the reader in. Text and graphics complement each other well—both are essential to the story—and the characters ring true. Although the production they mount seems a bit elaborate for middle school, the challenges they face are realistic: dealing with budget, costumes that do not fit, a male lead who gets sick, a female lead who is dumped by her boyfriend right before the last performance. This reviewer was a little surprised at how affecting a graphic novel can be, but middle school readers and young teens will not be surprised at all.—Marla Unruh 4Q 5P M J Graphic Format Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.