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Skellig (Skellig #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  14,964 Ratings  ·  1,668 Reviews
David Almond’s Printz Honor–winning novel celebrates its 10th anniversary!

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage. . . . What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published 1998)
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Ingvild Well, I am very late to the party, but the author actually answered the question of how he arrived at that name, if you're still wondering!

"For most…more
Well, I am very late to the party, but the author actually answered the question of how he arrived at that name, if you're still wondering!

"For most of the time I was writing the book, it was called Mr. Wilson - an awful title, I knew, but I was waiting to come up with the true title. When Michael and Mina have taken Skellig to the boarded-up house, Mina asks (again!) who he is. At that point, I looked up from my computer and saw a book about the Skellig Islands and realized that he (and the book) were called Skellig.

I'd been traveling in Ireland the previous year and had wanted to visit the Skelligs, which lie a few miles off the southwest coast. The sea was too rough, so I couldn't get across, but they looked remarkable: jagged rocky outcrops lashed by rain and wind. They appear uninhabitable, but during the Dark Ages, a community of monks lived and worked and prayed there. One of the islands is called Skellig Michael, after the archangel Michael. The other is Small Skellig."(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Maggie Stiefvater
Well, that was excellent.

This book is a brief mouthful of myth and hope and atmosphere. Reasons to read it?

1. There's a magical, irritable man in the narrator's garage. He likes Chinese take out and dead mice.

2. There is a wise and judgmental girl-neighbor who becomes the narrator's best friend.

3. There is no kissing.

4. There is warming family dynamic: the narrator is afraid his sickly baby sister will die.

5. There are teachers and parents and grown-ups who aren't idiots, assholes, or antagonis
Bookworm Sean
I read this about ten years ago now, and I’d completely forgotten about how much I loved it at the time. As soon as I picked it up and began reading it again I remembered why. The story of the rebirth of Skellig is a wonderful little tale; it is an allegory for the ever evolving nature of man, and how perhaps he may not have reached his full evolutionary potential. I didn’t realise this at the time when I first read because I was only ten, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Therefore, this is a book ...more
Dec 21, 2014 Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in quality children's literature, where realism and magic are maintained.
"David Almond's lyrical tale of the angel Skellig is written with delicacy and restraint, and tells a story of love and faith with exquisite, heart-fluttering tenderness. It is an extraordinarily profound book, no matter how old the reader."
—Chair of the Whitbread Judging Panel

Ten year old Michael is not a happy boy. His family have moved into a dilapidated home in Falconer Road, which is in bad need of repair. Previously owned by a deceased old man called Ernie, the yard is completely overgrown
Feb 08, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because in one of Nick Hornby's Believer columns he mentioned this was supposed to be the best YA book of all time. I don't know where he got this information, maybe from the ALA or some other three letter group. He gave it a glowing review so I thought I'd read it.

My first thought after reading it was that if it had been an adult novel I would have loved it. As a novel it felt more like a very nice sketch of an interesting and magical story than what I would like from a finished bo
Mar 05, 2008 Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keeper
I wept. Buckets. And was happier for it.
My son had this book for a school project so I read it to help him out. He had to prise it from my fingers after an hour and a half, and I wanted to go back and read it again. It embodies all that I think is good in Young Adult fiction, an unspoiled, simple but honest and direct approach - the themes are complex, but the storytelling is pure. I think adult fiction is just too pretentious sometimes, and this shows how a story can be emotive, mystical and wi
Feb 12, 2009 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kiddiwinx
im no teen, so i cant adequately judge this. it seems more interesting than some of the teen fiction books out back when i was wee, but more like a fable or a fairy tale than a full length novel. not a waste of an hour and a half....
It's hard to be a cynic, much less a hatah when you have something pure like this. This may not be my favorite book, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy giving up a few hours on a Wednesday night to visit Michael's world.

When I was little and told to say my prayers (by hypocritical lapsed catholics, by the way) I would start by asking that my family be safe (yeah, that didn't work out so well now, did it?) and then hit the trivial things like asking that Jimmy Watts would notice me or maybe my m
Nov 06, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, own, 2012, hometown-ya
I have to say if you asked me last week whether I had read Skellig by David Almond I would have looked at you blankly for a bit and then said “Well, I have a feeling I read it in primary school. No, I definitely did. But I can’t really remember what happens in it.”

I realise that that kind of means that I saw it as forgettable but please bear in mind it was about thirteen years ago and I have a horrible memory for books. Seriously, I can forget my favourite books that I’ve only just put down and
Sep 18, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because of its review in one of Nick Hornby's Believer columns. His high praise and its referencing of William Blake sold me.

It's an imaginative tale, touching and sweet but not saccharine; simply told, but with lots to think about; and suitable for its target audience of ages 8 to 12, but interesting enough for an adult (me) to keep reading and thinking. Plus I learned some new things about owls.

The story reminds me a little bit of something Neil Gaiman might write; but despit
Oct 25, 2009 jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, audiobook-d, fiction, yaf
I audiobook'd this because it was so short I could finish it in less than a week and because I have been on this YAF kick for the last three decades or so. The audio book is read by the author, who has a delightful accent, which greatly enriched my audio book experience. The plot is far from terribly original. Boy's life is in upheaval (new house, new neighborhood, new neighbors, new baby sister). Boy makes new friend. Boy finds something magical, shares with new friend, has enlightening, ...more
Sarah Hammerton
Jul 25, 2011 Sarah Hammerton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a truly magical book, dealing with big issues such as illness and friendship. Michael has moved to a new home and is also having to cope with the fact that his baby sister is very ill. He discovers a strange man, Skellig, living in his garage and, along with his new friend Mina, tries to help him. Skellig is more than he seems though and might just be able to help Michael too. The imagery that David Almond uses throughout the book really bring it to life and it's no surprise that it won ...more
Dear Amber,

I fear my feelings about Skellig are going to disappoint you. I didn't love it. Now that could be because it came to me too late in life to truly adore the story of the strange owl/angel/man, or perhaps I am too damn jaded, or it could just be that I no longer seem able to completely enjoy something just for the sake of enjoyment. I don't like that about me, but there it is.

Don't get me wrong. I liked Skellig plenty. I liked it enough that I've recommended it to Te and Los, and Scou
The Book Queen
2.5 stars

This was just weird. It's very difficult to rate because it's just so strange, so I'm rating it based on how much I enjoyed it, which was not very much. Aside from Mina, none of the characters were very likeable, and I didn't get the whole angel thing, plus the writing was dull. Not recommended.
Recently, I wrote about how certain authors just didn't connect with me, even though they are extremely well-reviewed.

A variant of this reading phenomenon has occurred in my community with David Almond. Skellig doesn't really go out very much, but I thought it was one of the most extraordinary and lyrical YA novels I'd read in a long time. I also really enjoyed Mouse Bird Snake Wolf, although I think that I am the only person, to date, to have actually checked it out of the library. That's such
After looking at the length of this book, and reading the synopsis, I thought it was just another run-of-the-mill fantasy story. However, I was amazed at how much story and feeling David Almond was able to discuss in the short duration of the novel. He effortlessly contrasted light and dark, all the time making his characters human and believable. I was especially surprised at his ability to intertwine the poetry of William Blake, as well as some Greek mythology and archaeology, into the ...more
Hannah N
Nov 25, 2012 Hannah N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skellig is a fiction book with a lot of twist and turns. A 10 year-old boy named Michael has moved into a new neighborhood.Michael is a very adventurous boy that likes to play football with his friends and help the family. He also has an ill baby wiser that was ben to early and is in and out of the hospital. He has a mysterious creature in his garage of his new home. Is it a bird? is it a man? is it a angel? His name is Skellig. Skellig has Mina is Michaels neighbor who loves birds. Mina is the ...more
Emir Saldierna
Mar 12, 2016 Emir Saldierna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cover-love
Bueno, eso fue... mágico. Amé este libro tanto como amé Mina, (aunque quizá Mina tenga un poco más de espacio en mi corazón). Estoy totalmente enamorado de la lírica de David Almond, cada capítulo tiene su propia magia y su propia fuerza, y la historia es simplemente bellísima.

Amo los temas que abordó el libro: vida, muerte, amistad, amor, familia... ¿qué más se puede pedir? Incluso retoma un poco a la mitología.

Es de esos libros que volveré a leer en otro momento de mi vida. Y que incluso quis
Jul 30, 2014 verbava rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, oh-how-i-cried
на щастя, людство ніколи не виросте з казок. у людства завжди лишиться талант розповідати – і вміння слухати – неймовірні історії про те, наприклад, що лопатки у нас лишилися від крил (або чекають, поки ми розів'ємо собі крила), чи про те, що, якщо дуже старанно вслухатися, можна відчути, як всередині б'ється не лише своє серце, а й серце іншої, неймовірно дорогої людини. чи про істот, схожих одночасно на людей, звірів і янголів.
а якщо колись усе ж виросте. чи якщо колись усе ж утратить талант д
Jun 12, 2012 Ela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ela by: Anna
A beautiful book. The characters were great and the writing was lovely, to anyone who enjoyed this I would recommend that they read 'My Name is Mina' which is a prequel, in my opinion even better than Skellig.
Luhana Ahuáctzin
Dicen que los libros siempre llegan en el momento adecuado... Personajes entrañables. Aquí Mina me gustó más que en su propio libro. Una prosa sencilla, sutil y una historia más que hermosa. Hermosa.
Very intriguing story. For me, the tone was a little gloomy at times, and it was not quite what I was looking for, but it was well-written. Plus, it was interesting to read a book with a home-schooler in it ;-)
Chloe (thelastcolour)
Jan 07, 2016 Chloe (thelastcolour) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adult, adult, children, people who like fantasy, myth
Recommended to Chloe (thelastcolour) by: my sister
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
"Who are you?"

I am writing this through misty eyes and with tears rolling down my cheeks. This book is both beautiful and tragic, I think we all know that these two things come hand in hand.

'Skellig' is a children's book but in no way does that make it unimportant. The fact that this was an easy read meant that I could delve deeper into what David Almond wanted the reader to think about. I'm still not entirely sure if I've grasped everything, but that makes it even more extraordin
Diane Ferbrache
The story of Michael, whose parents are distracted with the serious illness of their newborn daughter. When Michael discovers a strange man (being?) hiding in their garage, he and his neighbor Mina decide to care for Skellig. Is he a man? Is he a bird? an angel? a descendent of flying dinosaurs?

I read this book many years ago when it first came out. I found it strange and a bit confusing. Although it received many awards, I felt I never really "got" it. But Almond's newest book is a prequel focu
Feb 18, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, printz-honor
I don't fully know how to rate this book yet. When I was reading it, and right after I finished it, I didn't really feel much. I was a little disappointed in that actually. I had high hopes for this book. The whole realistic paranormal fiction isn't super my thing though, and I don't know that I ever really got a handle on how the book was supposed to feel.
However, now that the book has had a little time to digest, I feel like there was a lot more to the story than I originally thought. It's go
This is a remarkable book. Some may think it a childrens book but it is so much more.
Never have I read something that is so simple, but with an intense underlying message. To explain the plot would be an evident spoiler, other than to say that the need of everyone is different but leads to an inherent whole from the birds to the people and more, a need for change. Oh and as for Skellig himself .....
Thanks to Sean the bookworm whos review (which is far better than mine) made me buy the book on m
Cynthia Egbert
Mar 13, 2014 Cynthia Egbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition have a homeschooled child who is constantly quoting William Blake, of course I am going to give this book five stars, right? is much more than that, although this did get me. I started this book when I pulled it randomly off the shelves at the local library when I was trapped there during a snowstorm. And I fell in love. I stayed up until midnight because I simply had to finish the thing. It is lyrical and beautiful and the story is superb. I am going to try and get my hands ...more
May 31, 2016 DanniElla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I loved this book, and so did my children as we read it together. It's a fantasy, but feels so real. It's about love, and life, and growing up, and about changes, fears and hope and miracles. Sure, there is more to it, there are deeper meanings for those that like digging and thinking the books thoroughly, but I don't feel the need to overanalyze and go beyond this beautifully written simple, pure story.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
I had to read this book for seventh grade. Obviously, the school system was just trying to fit a fantasy book into the curriculum, but they happened to choose one of the worst fantasy books ever written. A kid finds a guy with wings in his garage. That's about it. The writing is unimpressive--it seems like it was written by a twelve-year-old. The plot is lame, uninteresting, and at times overly dramatic. If you want to read a good fantasy book, don't choose this one.
Aug 05, 2013 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written book that introduces many questions about the human condition in an artful, sensitive manner, appealing to young and older readers alike. The characters were refreshingly pure, and though wise beyond their years and not entirely credible were so lovely that it just didn't matter. This book made me feel happy.:)
This book seems to be at a crossroads: the subject matter is complex but the writing is simple. It is as if the author was not sure whether to make this an Elementary or a Young Adult novel. I liked the mystery surrounding the Skellig; what was he after all?
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David Almond is a British children's writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction ...more
More about David Almond...

Other Books in the Series

Skellig (2 books)
  • My Name Is Mina (Skellig, #0.5)

Share This Book

“What are you?" I whispered.
He shrugged again.
"Something," he said. "Something like you, something like a beast, something like a bird, something like an angel." He laughed. "Something like that.”
“They say that shoulder blades are where your wings were, when you were an angel," she said. "They say they're where your wings will grow again one day.” 33 likes
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