Spoiler Page: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Ok, by now you should know the drill… my spoiler pages are just that… SPOILERS.  That means I am going to talk about the book featured here just like I was talking to someone who has read it.


Because if you are here – you should have read the book.  My review, that is spoiler free… this page… is not.

Consider yourself warned 😀

You may wonder why I need a spoiler page for a short middle grade graphic novel and honestly… I have questioned myself as well.  However – there were a couple of things (I know, I know I said in my review that there was one – but there is two….) that bugged me just a bit and I need to know if it is just me.  😀

Why, you may ask again, does this matter?

On this particular book I am taking a unique (maybe?) look at it.  Mainly, because I have spent the last 2 1/2 years working on a book about a woman in the area I live in who has had AIDS from an emergency blood transfusion for 31 years.  And yes, I know this book is not about AIDS, but by writing this book about this amazing woman who instead of being down about her diagnosis has lived her life to help educate and support others with AIDS as well.  I have went to an AIDS camp the past two years for learning more about the subject, but – not only that… I have met some wonderful people who I am proud to call my friends.  By writing this story, I have grown so much in my knowledge of same-sex relationships and what the gay community still battles today as far as stigma.

Ok – that said.. what I noticed right away in this book was when the twins Justin and Jesse were introduced (page 30), Justin is clearly a little over the top with his emotions.  You can see it in the pictures and in his words.  I instantly thought is this character gay?  AND here is where I get tripped up.  On one hand I thought, you know, this is where the stigma comes from – this character is being portrayed as flamboyant, over the top and just short of jazz fingers.  On the other hand… maybe Raina is just brilliant and that is what she was going for, the reader to notice right away when Justin is introduced that he is different, just like we do in real life. 

That is point #1. 

Point #2, is later in the book we find out that Jesse is also gay.  Two things come to mind here… first… why have both twins gay?  What are the odds of that?  I am sure it is not unheard of… but , well… I don’t know.  And then on the flip of that, I liked that Jesse was harder to tell that he was so here again Raina confuses me but impresses me too because here is a gay character who acts just like every other guy and that is important for us – and for children to see. 

Ok, I hope that made sense.  That has stuck with me since I read the book and I would love some other opinions on this.  Did you feel as I did when Justin was introduced?  Did you notice his actions prior to him coming out to Callie?  And how did you feel about both twins being gay? 

Chat with me – it’s all fair here 😀

47 thoughts on “Spoiler Page: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

  1. I jus finished reading the book today. I thought it was quite original and funny how the book ended. It isn’t how you would expect a typical book ending. All throughout the story it was all about: “Jesse and Callie, Jesse and Callie, Jesse and Callie.” and I adored the idea of them ending up together! But they didn’t, and that’s what I think made the story so great. Aside from the entertaining characters and hilarious plot, Raina shows us that things in life can usually take unexpected turns.

      1. I don’t really get it… at first I was so confused with Jesse and Callie not ending together. But then a couple months later I realized that Jesse was gay. But tbh I don’t see how Jesse really told her. Like he didn’t really say “I’m gay” or “I like guys” or anything like that. So what really tells the reader he’s gay? 🤔 someone please answer me

  2. i liked this book but my cousin whos 10 doesnt really about sexs and etc so when she saw them kissed she asked about she was confused i didnt know what to do. i thought it was unnessary to have that when the boys kissed, so i returned the book back.

  3. I literally just finished he book like, half an hour ago, and already had to reread it (basically skimmed it) like 3 times because so was so confused. I thought from the begging that Justin was gay, it was pretty obvious. But when Jesse confessed to Callie that he was gay to, I got super confused. After first I thought I go Justin and Jesses name mixed up, like that Jesse was the gay one from the begging, and Justinw as the straight one.

    I wish the book was longer, i would love to know if Jesse really is gay, or if he was just so wrapped up in the kiss from Moon over Mississippi, with West, that he thought he was gay, especially with his brother being gay.

    I would also like to know if Justin stays gay, cause he says it, talks about how he likes so and so, and then that’s it. Also, I keep wondering what Jesse and Justin’s parents/dad would think.

    So many question!

    1. I like your opinions on this ! I was thinking the same thing !

      Honestly, I loved how the book ended but would much rather have it longer or with a sequel, just to see what happened AFTER.

      The story in itself was very interesting too, but again ! I want to know more !

    2. Imma try and answer your questions . . . here goes.
      Justin and Jesse were both gay all along. They just told Callie about it at different times. Justin most likely came out to her first because he isn’t as worried about his reputation. Yes, they both actually are gay. Yes, Justin”stays gay”. It isn’t possible for a gay person to “turn straight”, or vice versa. Their dad didn’t seem like the kind of person that would really like the fact that they are gay, but he would probably love them anyway. There. Any more questions?

      1. Well Jesse was very subtle about it. I don’t understand with him liking wes since they never hung outside of drama class.

  4. It is one of my favorite books very original and is actualy realistic like smile she is such a great author

  5. There are also a lot of other good points that should be mentioned. For instance, the fact that Callie is a girl that finds creative solutions to her problem. I think she makes a good role model!

  6. I thought the book was quite confusing so I had to skim through it again
    Over all the book is okay
    if I knew this was going to be like this I probably wouldn’t have bought it

  7. Well I for one thought the same about Justin. But when I found out about Jesse I was like, that’s kinda messed up how she had to find out. He could’ve just told her ya know?

  8. I think one gay brother was enough. To really explore another aspect of friendship and roles, it would have been better if other parts of the story were developed… It was like ok, been there, done that, we saw homosexuality. It made me not like the book as much.

  9. I think both brothers being gay was actually REALLY important. Callie falls into the trap that so many of us do. Justin pings her gaydar right away but Jesse “passes” so well that the thought doesn’t even enter her mind because she has a preconceived notion in her head about how gay people act and behave. You get a hint that she’s suspecting after the stage kiss when Matt talks about things being “obvious” but Jesse asking her to the dance seems to leave her convinced that he’s just big into the stage. I think Raina is showing that judging people based on appearances can lead to pain and confusion and implies that Callie will be a lot more aware and slow to jump to conclusions after this. Hurt but stronger for it, etc, etc.

    And I know that their skin seems to be slightly different shades on the cover but in the book itself I couldn’t tell whether or not they’re identical twins. Since the drawing style is fairly simple, they look alike except for the hair and clothes. But identical twins both being gay makes an extra amount of sense.

  10. Okay so I no joke just finished the book about…3 minutes ago, and I am so mad, I mean I am in love with the book, but am so mad!
    Well first of all; I have been waiting to read this book for about 2 months (I think) and I already have read smile and sisters. Ok, so the funny thing is right when my teacher showed the brand new just received copy of drama to my class it seems that all the boys wanted to read all of the author! Maybe it’s because it’s a grafic novel, but all I know is this boy (me) liked her first!!!
    Ok but back to the book! So I am mad because; “WHY ARE BOTH TWINS GAY!!!!” Callie and Jesse were so cute together! And then right after, Greg finally asks her out!! And then also Matt liked her?!?! I mean seriously; Callie and Jesse were the best together!!!
    But don’t get me wrong, I loved it! And out of everything, what I dislike the most is that Raina hasn’t continued the story!!
    I give it 5 stars (5/5) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    1. As a gay guy myself, I understand being gay and the “science behind it,” if you will. Being gay is genetic, so it not very uncommon for both twins to be gay. However obviously it’s not always the case, but it is probably about a 65% chance of both twins being gay.

  11. This book was a joy to read, and although i am not in the designated reader level, i loved it just the same. The art was beautiful, the story was entertaining and accurate to the current times, and best of all it introduced topics such as homosexuality and judgment, and honesty to oneself you rarely see tied into a cute and delectable drawing style. Raina, managed to work with scholastic and so props to scholastic as well for recognizing that times are changing and although you may be ten and uncomfortable with some scenes, you have to understand the great world you live in is very much like middle school, one big theatrical drama.

  12. I loved this book. I thought she did a great job capturing the middle school age, particularly being a middle school girl! The characters were strong, funny, and realistic. I was disappointed when Jesse came out gay, though, and here’s why: I think it would have been more interesting if Jesse was just a really good actor. An actor who could play a woman’s role and even kiss a boy without questioning if he was gay. I feel his character fell into the trap of, “well, I kissed a boy and I enjoyed playing the female role therefore I must be gay”. I’m sure there is more to his story, and that maybe he’ll go on to not be gay, but I think there needs to be room for boys to be a little feminine sometimes and not be gay. I remembering reading a magazine article (GQ possibly?) by Kurt Andersen of NPRs studio 360 and other journalistic acclaim (which article I cannot find, sorry) in which he says he was glad that he grew up when he did (the 1980s) because he loved “camp” things like dancing, old music, dressing well, and he said that if he grew up in today’s times his family and friends would have been questioning if he was gay, but he is in fact not. That reminded me of Jesse in this story. Anyways, overall great read!

  13. I love your books they are amazing and for school i have to do a reading project and i am doing it on drama!😋😂😃😊

  14. I think it was clever that both twins were gay, because I think Raina’s intention WAS to portray them as two totally different types of guys. One is more flamboyant and what you would call “openly” gay, and one is more reserved and would be who people would assume to be a straight guy. It was totally unexpected that Jesse was gay, and I think it was well executed because Raina is clearly telling the audience that we shouldn’t judge based on what we see on the surface.

  15. When you asked “what are the odds of that” as to both twin brothers being gay, I found that an important question so, I did some reasearch and found this info:

    Bailey and Pillard (1991): occurrence of homosexuality among brothers

    52% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual men were likewise homosexual
    22% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
    11% of adoptive brothers of homosexual men were likewise homosexual

    So, chances are definitely high enough that I find that plot point realistic.

    Just my two bits.

  16. I was confused if Jesse was gay with West or not I honestly thought that Jesse was BI but then he said “if I were to like any girl it would’ve been you”. Then I was like he’s gay too 😦 ! So I guess he doesn’t like girls weird , stuff

    1. I’ve read the book several times and first got it in 2019 and I always thought Jesse was Bi. He seems to like Callie at times aswell as liking West and he never said he was gay or anything. I never thought Callie would end up with Jesse, but I always thought that he had a slight crush on her. I think it would’ve made more sense to make Jesse Bi.I did like the book, but I also feel like it could use a sequel. When I first read it was curious about what would happen afterwards with the characters and their relationships with each other. Idk maybe it would’ve better if we knew more about Jesse and Justin’s father?

  17. I agree with you. I find it very odd that both twins are gay. Then the whole argument that “they were born that way” would make sense. I honestly thought that Jesse was not, so I was a tad disappointed when he was. (Which, confirms I have no gay-dar. I dated three boys growing up that came out years later. )

    I do love, though, your comment About it being very noticeable that Justin is gay, and the nonchalant way that it was handled. To me, the reaction shows readers that it just isnt something to make a big deal over, which actuallu deters bullying.

  18. hghghghghghgjhgbngtrjvehfrsv khbdwwwwwwwwwwwwwwkhvsgchde chyjehnksusckscscsuusssssssssssssssssssssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!

  19. I just finished reading this book and I loved it! I had to like skim back through the book because I thought I got the twins confused at the end when Jesse came out of the closet but then I’m like what are the odds. Then I came to this website and I read that in fact, both twins are gay and I’m like what the freak! I still love this book although I really loved the idea of Callie and Jesse but whatever. I also think it teaches a great lesson. I just think that Raina shouldn’t of put whenever Justin came out that Jesse wasn’t gay whenever Callie asked because that just made me, the reader even more confused XD. Love this book and on to reading Smile! 🙂

  20. I didn’t think anything at first, I know many kids, boys and girls, who are straight, and act like Justin, and others who are gay, and more like Jesse.

  21. I just finished this book yesterday and I loved it. It’s really a good portrayal of the different “types of gay”, basically saying that the way someone acts doesn’t always define their sexuality. I definitely need a ton of answers, though, especially relating to if Jesse is actually really gay, or if it was just kind of overwhelming to kiss West, but I think I already have that figured out. One thing that caught my attention when I was first reading this book was that, during West’s audition, Jesse said, “Wow, he’s perfect,” and even when Justin complains about not getting the role, he attempts to say MORE about how good West did. And yes, that could just be him giving West a bit of praise, but I have more evidence. When West slips and hits his leg, he sort of defends him when Bonnie objects, even when no one else did. Plus, after that scene, there wasn’t really anything important, meaning, at least in my pov, that the purpose of that scene is to give the reader a clue to how maybe Jesse does like West, not it just Jesse being overwhelmed from the kiss. AND, when he tells West about him saying no to Bonnie’s request to help her cheat on a test, he sort of blushes when West puts a hand on his shoulder. Again, this could all just be something else, but those are just points that I noticed, leading up to him coming out to Callie and everyone else.

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