My reaction to Dramarama in five words or less: Love it. LOVE IT.
When Sarah meets a boy named Demi at an audition for a musical summer program, the two hit it off right away. Demi dubs her Sayde, and the pair become as thick as thieves.
They are kindred spirits, or so it seems. Romance won't mess them up, because both of them like boys. Families won't tear them apart, because Sarah's parents are supportive but only mildly interested in her performing, and Demi's parents disapprove of his lifestyle even though they pretend everything is okay. When they both get into the program, neither can imagine the summer being anything less than perfect.
The car ride there is a laugh and a half, and the first few days are full of glitter and gusto. They record their thoughts and musings on a tape recorder, documenting their experiences. But soon, their bond becomes strained. Demi finds a boyfriend and Sayde finds herself alone.
As Sayde gets to know the other kids in the program, she finds herself impressed and intimidated by - and perhaps jealous of - the talents of her peers. One day, she feels ready to take on the world; the next day, a less-than-stellar performance leaves her crushed. She wants to be more than just a chorus girl, but she is unsure of her abilities. Meanwhile, the spotlight shines on her best friend time and time again - someone she seems to know less and less.
The book captures the performing arts summer camp experience so well - making instant-friends, fighting for roles, seeing the different types of talent, simultaneously feeling at home and out-of-place.
Also of note: Sayde's mother is deaf, so the family communicates using American Sign Language. Sayde doesn't think of herself as bilingual at all until someone else points it out. Kudos to the author for having a bilingual character and for having ASL be a natural part of her life, not The Big Issue of The Book.
Dramarama will ring true even with those who haven't any performing aspirations. In E. Lockhart's best novel to date, she delivers a solid, realistic storyline and peppers it with glorious lyrics, backstage rivalry, and plenty of play and film references.