Sarah Paulson longs for a life more exciting than the one she’s got in boring Brenton. Her ‘friends’ are totally bland, and her parents don’t understand her dissatisfaction, let alone her love of musicals. Everything changes when one day, after her tap dance class, she sees an advert for a musical theatre summer school: The Wildewood Academy for the Performing Arts. At the audition, she recognises a boy she goes to school with, Demi Howard. He recognises her, and most importantly, the Lurking Bigness that she feels she has inside her, waiting to come out and take the world by storm.
Together they reinvent Sarah as Sadye, and she feels like she finally has a true friend. Then Sadye and Demi both get into Wildewood, and they can’t wait to get out of Ohio and go. But when they arrive and immerse themselves in the drama and glitter, everything becomes a lot more complicated than it was when they were best friends in Brenton. When Demi needed her as much as she needed him, and he didn’t have boyfriends, or lead roles in plays. After their first few arguments, Sadye starts to feel like she’s losing him. Will their friendship survive the summer? Will Sadye’s Bigness ever stop Lurking?
I loved finding out. In fact, I was so excited to finally be reading Dramarama I think I squeaked as I turned the first few pages. I loved Sadye and Demi immediately. I could really relate to both Sadye’s descriptions of her Lurking Bigness, and the trouble she has trying to release her potential. I thought Demi, with his incredible self-belief and talent, was a fantastic character. I also adored the whole world of Wildewood – lunch-table-top performances, rooftop evenings, gossip, glitter, and all. Sadye’s roommates are a diverse, fun bunch. I love E. Lockhart’s groups of friends. She gets the group dynamic so right. The teachers at Wildewood were completely believable, very flawed, but interesting. Special mentions also go to Lyle’s possibly-hopeless love for Demi (I won’t spoil it), the cuteness of Theo (oh E. Lockhart! How do you create so many varied and wonderful fictional specimens of attractive boy‽), and the Blake song.
I liked that Sadye struggled with fitting in, which at Wildewood is the same thing as standing out. I could see why she indulged in being cruel to her friends sometimes. And I could understand why Demi disagreed with Sadye’s opinions, even though I could also understand all the misgivings she had about her teachers, and I think I would have had them too. It was great seeing Sadye develop over the summer.
Some other reviewers didn’t like the ending, I know. I did think it was a bit rushed, because the pace was slower at the start of the book. It felt like there was a lot of build up, and then it was over quite quickly. I didn’t have a problem with what actually happened though, it seemed realistic and necessary for Sadye’s development as a person.
Dramarama is a fantastic read. Even if you don’t know much about musical theatre, I’d give it a go – there are YouTube videos for almost every song mentioned and every reference can be Googled, and it’s so much fun!