Mina, Lizzie, Michael and JZ are a close-knit group of friends, and they are starting their freshman year of high school together. Each one of the friends has different aspirations for the new year; Lizzie has theater, JZ has football, Michael has costume crew, and Mina has cheerleading (and elevating her social status). Even though Mina is the main character, Hyman makes sure that all of her friends figure prominently into the plot.
The four friends have never had problems staying close, even with all of their different activities. But as their freshman year begins, they seem to be spending less and less time together. Besides cheerleading, Minas suddenly extremely busy with her group project in Sociology. Mina and the three other girls in her group are given the task of eradicating their prejudices. They decide that having sleepovers at each girls house will be the perfect way to get to know each other. It sounds simple enough, but the girls quickly discover that their project will take a lot of time and effort to really get to know one another. As their project progresses, Mina learns a lot about herself and reevaluates the importance of popularity. But when her Sociology project begins to get in the way of her friendship with Lizzie, will she have to choose between her newfound friends and her best friend?
Paula Chase Hyman addresses so many facets of friendship and high school life in So Not The Drama. I really wish that I had a Sociology class at high school, because the lessons Mina learned through her project really transcend the boundaries of school. I also loved how honest the characters in So Not The Drama were. They really stuck by their beliefs and while they definitely opened up to each other, they realized that not everybody will always be friends, and thats okay. By the end of the book, I learned how my first impressions of the characters were often pretty wrong. While it can be hard to approach every situation with an open mind, being judgmental is definitely not the way to make friends!
Props to Ms. Hyman for giving us a comprehensive look at the high school experience with very colorful characters that never fail to express themselves.