Friday, July 1, 2016

Book review - Dara Palmer's Major Drama

Title: Dara Palmer's Major Drama
Author: Emma Shevah
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
                     Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Better, and deeper, than I expected

Summary(provided by publisher): From critically acclaimed author Emma Shevah whose debut novel Dream On, Amber received four starred reviews comes a new hilarious and moving story about a girl dealing with being different and finding her own way to rise above.
Dara Palmer knows for a fact that she was meant to be on stage. But when The Sound of Music is selected for the school musical, Dara isn’t cast as Maria—or at all. She can’t help but wonder: is it because she’s different? Maybe it’s because she was adopted from Cambodia and doesn’t look like a typical fraulein…
So irrepressible Dara comes up with a grand scheme to shake the school: write her own play about her own life. Then she’ll have to be the star.

My opinion: Initially I was rather annoyed by this book. It starts out with a rather shallow plot: Dara is outraged that she didn't get a part in the school play even though she is (in her own opinion) the best actor in her class. So it seems, at first, that this is going to be a book focused on humility and being able to take direction. It isn't until Dara begins to explore her roots, her identity as a child adopted from Cambodia, that I began to engage with the plot. This extra complexity makes it more than a simple entertainment. It remains easily understood by upper elementary/early middle school readers but leaves them with something to think about.

Advance reader copy provided by NetGalley.

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