Drama by Raina Telgemeier (due out in September 2012)*.
I really liked Telgemeier's autobiographical Smile and was eager to read more of her work (and I just learned she illustrated the graphic novel versions of The Babysitter's Club books). Drama follows Callie and her friends as they prepare for the big play. Callie and her friends are part of the stage crew and their preparations for the play frame the story. But of course, drama isn't just theater. If you've spent any time around teens lately, you'll know that drama is a collective noun for "everything in my life." Have a crush on someone and don't know if she/he likes you back? That's drama. Friends fighting? Drama. Homework blues? Dramarama. I really like the balance Telgemeier strikes in this book. I find Callie's romantic travails endearing (when I'm not cringing remembering my own middle school forays into lurve) but I also like that Callie and her friends aren't just all boysboysboysboysboys! Callie isn't into theater to get boys. She loves the challenge of building set pieces. One of the biggest challenges she faces is getting a cannon prop to fire without killing everyone...or pathetically fizzling out. So many books about middle school and high school focus intensely on the romance aspect of adolescence, but really, there's a lot more going on for kids, and I really liked how this book struck a nice balance in Callie's interests.
*I posted about this book in a combo post, but since I am reviewing it for the Cybils, I'm recopying my review here. I also received a review copy from Net Galley.