Book Review: Dramarama, by E. Lockhart

dramarama_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

We all have dreams, often dreams we never even dare to follow. E. Lockhart pulls you into the life of a girl shooting for the stars, wanting to be known, and following a dream. Ms. Lockhart has written a Printz Honor book, been a finalist for the National Book Award, and a recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel.

She illustrates the struggles, the longing, the tears, the smiles, the loss, the devastation and the hard truth of what comes with following a dream in her thrilling novel, Dramarama.

In the uneventful, lifeless state of Ohio lives Sarah Paulson, a young thespian searching and awaiting her chance at the Broadway stage. Her sleepy, repetitious life can’t keep up with her and her “lurking bigness.” So when the opportunity to audition to spend the summer at Wildewood, a prestigious performing arts boarding school, is handed to her, she cant contain her elation. While enduring the wait to audition she meets a boy named Demi, the only person in Ohio with even half of her “bigness.”

“My true best friend. A spirit made of equal parts of ambition and razzle-dazzle. A big baritone that slides easily into falsetto. And a future as bright as the lights on 42nd Street” (11).

She sets off to Wildewood with a new friend, new excitement and a new name, Sadye. Both her friendship and her talent are tested when she attends Wildewood and not all goes according to plan. When up against some of the most talented and experienced kids she’s ever seen, she cracks under the pressure and learns she’s going to need to be better than the best to even survive. Throughout her days that summer she learns more than how to transform into her character, or sing higher, or dance faster, she learns that you have to believe in yourself and that following your dream is something you have to fight for.

Sadye isn’t the best, or even close to it. But the real problem here isn’t that she doesn’t have the smoothest voice, it’s that she doesn’t believe in herself enough to have a shot. With no faith in her talents, with no confidence in her razzle dazzle, she falls short and gives up. No longer is she the girl who is proud to be herself and could be famous any day now, instead she’s the girl who couldn’t care less and doesn’t even try.

“Maybe my problem wasn’t what Morales and Reanne implied- that I lacked humility. Maybe my problem was that I lacked confidence. Not that confidence would make me a singer when I didn’t have a voice. It wouldn’t. I would never have the voice” (261-262).

It is imperative for her to believe in herself and persevere through her struggles to get where she wants to go and as E. Lockhart explains, without that she went nowhere fast and her chances disappeared. Belief is one of the most powerful tools to success and that is one of the greatest lessons to be learned in this novel.

E. Lockhart writes in a captivating and humorously relatable way, looking through teenage Sadye’s eyes. The way she tells this story made me feel as though I knew Sadye and was apart of her. This made each success even greater and each disappointment all the more frustrating. I felt as though I could relate to Sadye’s character and Lockhart did a magnificent job really capturing her essence and making her come to life. Not only does Sadye struggle with her talents and her Broadway dreams, but goes through every up and down all teenagers do. If you are in search for a good read full of humor, surprise, inspiration and a whole lot of singing, this book is definitely for you. E. Lockhart creates a story that hooks you in a heartbeat and pulls you in with every paragraph. Do Sadye’s dreams come true? Does she find the confidence in herself? Does she finally believe? You’ll just have to read the book to know for sure.

-Avery E., 7th grade

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