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Before she meets Demi, Sadye is just Sarah, a big-nosed, five-foot-ten “supersonic, hydrophonic, gigantic person, only no one could see it.” The only time she ever feels alive in her boring as Cream of Wheat hometown of Brenton, Ohio, is at Miss Delilah’s School of Dance. Sarah loves to dance, sing and watch musicals, but her real life is “seriously razzle-dazzle deprived.” When the announcement is made that Wildwood Summer Institute will be holding auditions, Sarah knows it could be her ticket out of town. She chops her hair in the style of Liza Minnelli and goes on a shopping spree for mini-skirts, knee-high boots and glitter sweaters.

At the audition, she meets Douglas Howard, aka Demi. Demi also goes to Brenton, but she has never seen him like this --- decked out in “a skintight silver shirt over red workout pants” and a bowler hat. Demi is “a spirit made of equal parts ambition and razzle-dazzle.” He also feels out of place at school, especially because he’s gay and black. They instantly hit it off and become friends. Demi calls Sarah’s look “Gawky-sexy. And that means that you are not Sarah.” They rename her Sayde. A star is born! Demi and Sadye are inseparable for the rest of the school year and are thrilled when they both get accepted into Wildwood.

But at Wildwood, everything is different. Boys’ and girls’ dorms mean that Demi and Sadye won’t be as inseparable as she expected. Sadye’s roommates are Iz, who goes to a specialized arts high school in San Diego; Candie, who has “no filter” and is obsessed with the oddball musical “Jekyll & Hyde”; and Nanette, who has been on Broadway since she was seven. Sadye realizes that being accepted into Wildwood is just the first part of the process. There will be another audition and then they will be placed in their selected plays and roles.

While Demi shoots to stardom and popularity at camp, Sadye finds herself in a not-so-glamorous spot and begins to feel out of place. Is she as razzle-dazzle as she had thought?

E. Lockhart’s DRAMARAMA is a deliciously fun take on summer theater camp. The colorful cast of characters pops out of the pages and are as lively as the songs mentioned throughout. The technique of intermingling the transcripts of microcassette recordings made by Sadye and Demi adds a wonderfully satisfying in-the-moment-feeling to their adventure. This reader and ex-drama club member especially appreciated the clever musical references and dead-on details of drama life.


Reviewed by Kristi Olson on October 18, 2011

by E. Lockhart

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 0786838159
  • ISBN-13: 9780786838158