Skim
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Skim

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  4,206 ratings  ·  522 reviews
A New York Times Book Review choice as one of the 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2008.



Skim is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth stuck in a private girls' school in Toronto. When a classmate's boyfriend kills himself because he was rumoured to be gay, the school goes into mourning overdrive, each clique trying to find something to ho...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Groundwood Books (first published February 28th 2008)
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Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 19, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teen girls ages 12 and up
This reminded me a lot of Ghost World, being about a misfit girl, nicknamed Skim, and her best friend, whose paths are starting to diverge.
There's not much story here, but to me, that felt true to life in high school. I, like Skim, watched from the sidelines, and when something does happen to you, it can be overwhelming and life changing, as when Skim's teacher kisses her.
I liked the sly humor - the coven meeting that was also an AA meeting, the costume party with all the girls except Skim and...more
jess
Mar 18, 2009 jess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jess by: Timothy
This is one of my new favorite graphic novels. It is _so_much_better_ than the Minx graphic novel by the same author (Emiko Superstar). The art is beautiful, great lines & strong white spaces. The emotions are pure. The cover art did not really engage me at all, but don't judge this book by its cover. The cover doesn't really do justice to the story and illustrations inside.

It's about a teen girl in high school (Skim) who dabbles with Wicca, tries to make sense of her sexuality, and navigat...more
Travis
It's 1993 and Kimberly Keiko Cameron, aka Skim, is in grade 10 at a Catholic girls' school. She is: Wiccan, biracial (Japanese-Canadian/white), sort of an outcast, overweight, falling in love with her English teacher, Ms. Archer.[return][return]I really loved this. It's so...ordinary. It's not a message book, even though there are lots of things (being Asian, homophobia, being queer, bullying, teen suicide, rumors, divorce, being overweight) that could be turned into big Issues to Teach a Lesson...more
Paul
For a story about emotions and connections, I felt rather unconnected to Skim, the title character. Maybe it was because author Mariko Tamaki went a little too overboard in making Skim an "every girl" character. Sure, she had some petulant goth / wicca leanings, but within those categories she felt a little too much like she was always playing a role. Maybe that's what bothered me with the story as a whole---it was always by the numbers, there was always the proper event happening at the proper...more
Keith
Man, I am so tired of reading every-graphic-novel-I-should-have-read-but-didn't in preparation for a course I start teaching in a month, but it was all completely worth it to read Skim. It's the kind of good that makes you realize as you're reading it that you're only getting a tenth of what's going on, and then when you put the book down it starts unfolding, like you're still reading it, and man is that a warm, strange, velvety feeling to have going on in your head.

I don't think I've ever read...more
Jamila
Hilarious and sad. I loved the Girls Celebrate Life club and the mystery of Ms. Archer. Great book about friendship, loneliness, young love, and identity.
David
I grabbed this at random while I was browsing graphic novels at the local library. I have a nostalgic fondness for teen coming-of-age graphic novels, though none of the published ones I've read (Blankets, Black Hole) are as good as a handful of web comics.

Anyway, I am totally not the target audience for this book, or else I am just too old. For one thing, the characters are all teenage girls at an all-girls' high school. It's also set in the early 90s, so not only do I not relate to them now, I...more
Nicky
I can’t get enough of stories about depressed teenage girls who don’t know where they fit in. Probably because I was that girl. When I hear people talk about high school with actual fondness, I am always deeply suspicious of their character, even though it’s totally possible (and even likely) that some people had a grand ole time. Skim is on my team, and I loved her, not just because of that, but because she’s also smart and funny and does the unexpected. All of the girls in this book were so fi...more
Raina
Apr 03, 2009 Raina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: goths, high school, girls
Recommended to Raina by: YALSA-BK
I think they could have edged up the cover a bit - it doesn't reflect the goth, witchy, lesbian elements of the book. And granted, Kim's self discovery is the central point, and not all those other elements which merely contribute, but still. I loved the subtlety of the storytelling - nonlinear, deviceful but not, the cynicism and assertion of authenticity, the portrayal of the transference of friendships, and the heartbreak of young emotion. A treat, and a quick read, although I would love a fr...more
i. merey
I found the title appropriate... Skim. Reading this book felt like sitting alone deep in a forest, staring at a clean, clear pond. Nobody is around, at one point, you pick up a stone and skip it along the water. The pond is deep and cold; the stone just disturbs the surface...

Skim is a high-school girl dealing with a few formidable issues in her life. Her parents are divorced, her mother is bitter; her best friend Lisa, with whom she's exploring Wicca, is a bitch. A boy commits suicide at her sc...more
Marissa
This is a pretty amazing coming-of-age style graphic novel. The drawing style is beautiful and there's some really exciting artistic experimentation going on with the lay-out, the angles the artist chooses in the panel, the lettering etc. Jillian Tamaki doesn't just illustrate the characters and events in the book, she brings their moods and movement to life. Not to mention that her imitation of the style of classical Japanese portraiture to draw the teenaged protagonist gives the whole work an...more
Seth Hahne
Being neither a teenage girl nor overly sympathetic toward the needlessly mopey, I am pretty clearly not the target audience for Skim. I’m sure that if I were of like age, culture, and circumstance with Skim‘s lead, Kimberly Keiko Cameron, I might find the book soul-piercing and intelligent.

But I’m not and so I don’t.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

There is one singular obstacle facing any author who hopes to present a story featuring realistically portrayed teenagers: teens are uninteresting. Their problems are generally ove...more
Michelle Lynne Widmann
One of my favourite graphic novels. It dealt with a lot of themes that I find simultaneously entertaining, moving and interesting to read about (suicide, Wicca, searching for identity, LGBT issues, etc.) I really liked the art style, but it was the characters that really got to me; I could really relate to Kim and the people in her life at the high school level, including a lot of the things she goes through and that she is feeling.
Sarah
This is the best queer Wiccan young adult graphic novel I have ever read. It is also the only one I have ever read because it is completely unlike anything I've seen before.

The dark pencil sketch art style brought to mind another graphic novel about religious faith, Blankets by Craig Thompson, but the story is more mult- faceted. I enjoyed the many things going on here - the relationship with her female teacher, her introduction to Wicca, her relationship with her best friend, and the backdrop...more
Tatiana
May 11, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: ALA
I am not familiar enough with the genre of graphic novels to be a good judge of this book. I read it only because it was on the ALA list of best YA books of 2009. "Skim" is a nice very short (about 140 pages) coming-of-age story which deals with the issues of first love, homosexuality, friendship, and suicide. A quick, interesting read, but nothing earth-shattering or especially profound here.
Kate
There's a lot here that people will find familiar. This graphic novel takes the form of a diary as Kim (also called Skim) talks about her life at a girl's high school in the 1990s. When a classmate commits suicide everyone is forced into counseling and then everyone decides Kim is going to be next because of her interest in Wicca. A group of girls rally around the dead boy's ex-girlfriend, who looks less than impressed for the attention, while Kim and her friend Lisa drift in and out of each oth...more
Jeffrey
I really enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Although it was less emotionally resonant with me - probably because of my own experiences and current situation more than anything - the story is engaging and the art is beautiful, and in terms of its comics mechanics is consistently interesting.
Cathleen
In my experience few books get female adolescence right. I don't know why, but it's true. Skim is a welcome exception.

Author Mariko Tamaki and her sister Jillian Tamaki, this graphic novel's illustrator, portray the confusion, banality, and loneliness of teenage girl years in a way that rang true for me.

Skim is a teenage girl so named because, as she points out, she isn't. Her best friend Lisa is something of a shit. We've all met her before -- she thinks she's clever and streetwise but really...more
Kate
Kim Keiko Cameron (Skim) is in 10th grade at an all girls private school in 1993. A goth girl into Wicca and witchcraft no one really understands her. Her dark clothing and moods are always being misinterpreted as depression. When a guy at a neighboring school commits suicide, Skim's school goes into mourning overdrive. They create an anti-suicide/depression group, of which Kim is a particular target.

To top it all off Kim has fallen in love with her english teacher (a woman), her best friend is...more
Sarah
Skim

Before I recommend this, I’m going to take the liberty to attach a small trigger warning to this book. It discusses suicide and depression frequently throughout, just so you know. Don’t read stuff that you think will make you feel awful!

‘Skim’ is the diary of Kimberly Keiko Cameron, who considers herself to be a witch and is otherwise a typical teenage girl in high school. The story covers Skim’s first love, her friendship with her best friend Lisa, stories of her past and the rising caution...more
Lauma
This book won numerous awards including ALA Notables Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, and Best Illustrated Children's Book Award from the New York Times. I was particularly intrigued because it was a coming of age story of a teenage girl, Skim. She is of a multi-racial background (Caucasian and Asian) and deals with many serious issues while trying to fit in to her all-girls school. This book is definitely for mature teens and adults. There is str...more
Eva Mitnick
This graphic novel covers some of the same territory as Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, but in very different style and somewhat more effectively (although I did really enjoy Plain Janes and look forward to reading the sequel). Kim, a Canadian who is half-Japanese and half-white, lives with her mom and attends a private school. While the rest of the school reacts in various ways to the suicide of a male student (a ludicrous life-affirming club, for instance), Kim (known as Skim because she isn...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
I have a soft spot for graphic novels with black and white artwork. Skim is one such. The book is written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki.

Skim is an overweight grade 10 student stuck in the suburbs at a private girls’ school, dealing with her separated parents, absorbed in wicca, tarot cards, astrology, and philosophy, and rebelling against conformity. She’s also a visual artist grappling with her emerging gay identity. The tale is narrated as excerpts from Skim’s d...more
pandamans
I really enjoyed Skim - both for its cinematic, emotional illustrations and its undaunted conversational dialogue. The storyline unfolds through the main character's lived and recalled experiences in her diary. There is a lot of internal conversation and struggle - confusion - that we all know so well. The images often speak volumes - and are breathtaking.[return][return]The caveat - when I say undaunted language - I mean it. This book has ALL the ingredients to make it controversial. Which made...more
Flissy
Feb 18, 2009 Flissy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Ha!
Shelves: 2008
This graphic novel is hardly worth mentioning, except for the fact that I'm keeping track of everything I read. I picked it up off the "new" shelf at the library while hubs was looking for something up something else. What a disappointment. The artwork was pretty nice but it didn't give any additional information or interest to the overwhelmingly mediocre writing. I'd say I may have been interested if I was thirteen years old again and angsty, but the truth is, we all know I'd be reading Christo...more
Sandy
This book is very pretty, and I like that it's about a fat, Asian-Canadian, non-straight girl. However, it's a bit too bleak for me. Kim (nick named Skim) is a student at an all-girls Catholic high school. The boyfriend of a girl at the school commits suicide; and the school goes into a kind of performance-grieving mode. Kim feels a gulf widening between herself and her best friend; meanwhile she is falling in love with her (female) English teacher.

There is no easy resolution here; things just...more
Rachel
All the trauma of teenage life comes to the fore in this critically acclaimed graphic novel. Kim, aka Skim, is a teenage girl destined to be marked as "weird", at least according to her own mind. She is fairly quiet around all, except her one friend, and a kind female teacher whom she falls for. Due to this, and her belief in wicca, many make assumptions about her with their constant talk of how she is quite likely to commit suicide. On the other hand, her thoughts make it clear that she is far...more
James Li
Skim's strength lays in its understated ability to show and not tell - making its reading an almost removed experience that is more experiential than descriptive. Firmly realist, Tamaki nails down the feeling of boring disposition and undiscussed pain that marks teenage adolescence without falling into the trappings of melodrama or sensationalism. The art (all black and white) utilizes negative space and blurred charcoals effectively. It looks and feels beautiful, and is never overwhelming.

Skim...more
Denele
I definitely could have used a graphic novel like this when I was in high school. Many of the characters are quite relatable. Wise cracking know it all Lisa made me chuckle, while sensitive and quiet Skim had moments where my heart ached for her. There wasn't really an advanced plot, but more of a focus on the reflections of a teenage girl responding to the many people and situations in her life. I enjoyed the nonchalant approach to some controversial issues.
sweet pea
a quirky coming-of-age tale. kim is depressive, obsessive, and transgressive. her wiccan ways and sapphic sensibilities set her apart from her classmates. the story follows an interesting path, with several humorous bits. the illustrations, at first glance, are unappealing to me. but there's a lot of innovative integration of the narration into the images. the story should resonate with any freaky girl.
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Mariko Tamaki is a Toronto writer, playwright, activist and performer. She works and performs with fat activists Pretty Porky and Pissed Off and the theatre troupe TOA, whose recent play, A vs. B, was staged at the 2004 Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Her well-received novel, Cover Me (McGilligan Books) was followed by a short fiction collection, True Lies: The Book of Bad Advice...more
More about Mariko Tamaki...
This One Summer Emiko Superstar (You) Set Me on Fire True Lies: The Book Of Bad Advice Fake ID

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“I had a dream I put my hands inside my chest and held my heart to try to keep it still.” 9 likes
“This is the thing about school dances. They make like it's supposed to be this other-worldly thing, but really it's just the people you see every day dressed up, standing in the gym in the dark with Red Hot Chili Peppers playing.” 3 likes
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