Book Review: Operatic by Kyo Maclear

While strolling the aisles of the expo at the OLA Super Conference, the cover to Operatic by Kyo Maclear caught my eye. The cover features my favourite colour and has a beautiful design on the front. I was lucky enough to get the final copy of the books on offer.

Publication date: 1 April 2019

Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novels


It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

This evocatively illustrated graphic novel brilliantly captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard. 

My thoughts:

I loved the drawings in this book and spent as much time ‘reading’ them as I did the text. The images match perfectly to the emotions expressed by the character would encourage a child to pick up the book and read it.

The story would also appeal to both teens and middle graders. In it, we read of a young girl who discovers what music she likes and, even though it is not mainstream, she continues to listen to it. Her admiration for the opera singer who was not loved by everyone grows as she realises the adversities the woman must have gone through. The story shows that our role models can be found anywhere – even amongst opera singers. In addition, the story highlights that something we are passionate about can help us to overcome our fears and help us to share what we love.

I enjoy graphic novels and believe they deserve a space on every book shelf. Operatic is one that will shine on mine – and one that lovers of graphic novels would enjoy.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 20th in my book pledge for 2019)

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