Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 1, 2007
Genres: YA Contemporary
Two theater-mad, self-inventedfabulositon Ohio teenagers.One boy, one girl.One gay, one straight.One black, one white.And SUMMER DRAMA CAMP.It's a season of hormones,gold lame,hissy fits,jazz hands,song and dance,true love,and unitardsthat will determine their future--and test their friendship.
E. Lockhart is like my YA queen. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks helped me define myself as a feminist and a woman, the Ruby Oliver series is sweet as candy with so much heart it hurts yours, and Fly on the Wall was… okay. Dramarama marks me reading all her backlist novels and it was a good note to end that journey on considering I have an ARC of her next novel I’m planning to read soon. Dramarama is exactly as dramatic as it sounds, but it actually kinda stabbed me in the heart. In a good way.
Between the lack of chapters and the slow beginning, it’s a difficult start, but Demi and Sayde’s endearing friendship is worth sticking with even though their friendship is clearly going to be hitting a lot of icebergs soon. Sayde herself is worth sticking out the novel for because she’s such a conflicted character that reminds me of Frankie Lauda-Banks in all the best ways. She is combative and negative and consistently challenging people who know the world of theatre much better than she does when she shouldn’t, but she almost never does it maliciously. She wants to contribute and is trying to figure out where she fits after her sudden realization she doesn’t have as much talent as she thought.
To be honest, I was feeling disillusioned with the novel for a long time and felt certain it would be another Fly on the Wall until pretty close to the end. Sayde makes it clear she loves Wildewood, but that the same time, a conversation with Reanne makes it clear Wildewood hurts her at the same time. The drama people are her people, but she doesn’t have the kind of talent all of her friends do. While bonding with them over ten-day shows and hectic rehearsal schedules, she’s constantly insecure about how much more skilled they are at acting and singing.
My college’s Honors Program is like that, so I totally get here. I love being part of it and love being able to shape what it will become in the future through being part of its leadership board, but at the same time, it hurts. Like Sadye, I imagine myself to be a pretty stellar student, but then I meet other Honors students and hear what they’re up to and I have to accept I’m not that special. I’m nowhere near the top of the pyramid. Sadye coming to that realization made me cry, but I ended up crying again for her in happiness when she started to figure out that theater was her place but was not necessarily where she thought it was.
Outside of Sadye, we’ve got a pretty diverse, well-developed cast. From what I’ve heard, living the theatre life isn’t easy and there can be a lot of jealousy going on behind the scenes. With Sadye’s roommate Nanette, already an established Broadway actress, we see what living in that world can do to a person and how having that kind of star-making talent can be a curse. Her two other roommates have their own intriguing situations going on, but I’ll withhold info on those to keep spoilers away. Then there’s Lyle and Demi’s relationship, which = love. They’re such a sweet couple and though characters like Sadye try to erase parts of their identities (Demi is of course black, Lyle is overweight), both of them own who they are.
E. Lockhart is probably going to be one of my favorite authors for a very long time and I’m happy to say this is another gem from her. Here’s hoping her next book We Were Liars can meet the same standards.