Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Williams, Julie. Drama Queens in the House.

Williams, Julie.  Drama Queens in the House.    Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press  2014  426p  $17.99     ISBN 978-1-59643-735-7  ms/hs  Realistic fiction  VG 

Jessie is a talented sixteen-year-od who is struggling to discover her place in the world.  To say that Jessie, who is growing up in the theater, is surrounded by drama is an understatement!  When she discovers that her father is cheating on her mother with another man, her safe world comes apart.  Jessie’s mom retreats from everyone, including Jessie, who is left to deal with the issues alone.  How should she deal with her parents’ separation/divorce?  How can she come to terms with her dad being gay?  Is her religious aunt correct? Is it the end of the world?

Some characters are so over-the-top that credibility is lost
, and yet the emotions and relationships ring true.  Desperate to keep her family together, Jessie faces one betrayal after another.  Williams does a better job in sensitively handling the issues surrounding Jessie's father's homosexuality than she does in portraying the fundamentalist, religious aunt.  Yet, when Jessie changes her perspective and broadens her definition of family, she ultimately comes to a place where she is comfortable in her own skin and with her family's newly forged relationships.  And in doing so, she broadens the reader's view as well.

Summary: Jessie grew up surrounded by method actors and drama at the Jumble Players Theater run by her parents.  But when her safe world begins to come apart, Jessie has to determine her place in all the chaos. 

Family-Fiction, Theater-Fiction                             --Hilary Welliver

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