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Heartbreakingly funny, moving and vibrantly drawn, Skim is an extraordinary book—a smart and sensitive graphic novel of the highest literary and artistic quality, by and about young women.

"Skim" is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school. When Skim's classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counselors provide lectures on the "cycle of grief," and the popular clique starts a new club (Girls Celebrate Life!) to bolster school spirit, Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression.

And falling in love only makes things worse...

Suicide, depression, love, being gay or not, crushes, cliques, and finding a way to be your own fully human self—are all explored in this brilliant collaboration by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. An edgy, keenly observed and poignant glimpse into the heartache of being young.

143 pages, Hardcover

First published February 28, 2008

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About the author

Mariko Tamaki

278 books1,965 followers
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 (Women's Press). Mariko's third book, FAKE ID, is due out in spring 2005.

Mariko Tamaki has performed her work across Canada and through the States, recently appearing at the Calgary Folkfest 2004, Vancouver Writer's Festival 2003, Spatial III, and the Perpetual Motion/Girls Bite Back Tour, which circled though Ottawa, Montreal, Brooklyn and Chicago. She has appeared widely on radio and television including First Person Singular on CBC radio and Imprint on TVO. Mariko Tamaki is currently attending York University working a master's degree in women's studies.

[MacMIllan Books]

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,764 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
May 4, 2020
this was a great coming of age story, and definitely one of the better graphic novels i’ve read!

cw: suicide, depression
Profile Image for Keith.
Author 12 books235 followers
March 1, 2013
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 a graphic novel that so brazenly exists in subtext, that acts out the outsider-y repressed nature of its protagonist so artfully, absolutely refusing to divulge all the layers of its meaning on a first pass. This is the most satisfying, absorbing reading experience I've had in a long time. Now I just have to decide if I want to break it into two parts when I assign it, so we have some space to absorb it slowly, or if I should make the students read it in one go, just to feel the rush of "what the hell was that amazing thing" that I felt when it was over.

This is the best graphic novel you haven't read yet, kids. Don't make me judge you for not picking it up.
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.1k followers
July 17, 2016
You know, I enjoyed this when I read it. I found the story compelling and truly feel that it was an honest depiction of teenage life in high school. I found the illustration style a bit creepy and unsettling, but that went along with the story. My only problem is that now that I'm writing this review, two months after finishing it, I realized that I haven't thought about this book once since reading it. So personally it didn't have any long lasting staying power!
Profile Image for Natalie.
565 reviews3,195 followers
August 1, 2018
When I started down the wonderful path that is reading graphic novels last year, This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki was one of the first works I checked out. So to have now finally read through Skim from cover to cover is beyond gratifying for me.

"Skim" is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school. When Skim's classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counselors provide lectures on the "cycle of grief," and the popular clique starts a new club (Girls Celebrate Life!) to bolster school spirit, Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression.

And falling in love only makes things worse...

Suicide, depression, love, being gay or not, crushes, cliques, and finding a way to be your own fully human self--are all explored in this brilliant collaboration by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. An edgy, keenly observed and poignant glimpse into the heartache of being young.

Skim 1-- bookspoils
Side note: I love it when the blurb really gets the core of the book right.

Skim's quick glimpse into an angst-ridden, strong-willed and intense young adult made me reminisce and feel grateful for making it through those years unscathed. But I also feel like the main themes that are prevalent in Skim, like the ever-present arc of mortality that's circling the girls at school, were (somewhat fittingly) skimmed over. I didn't feel like I had a solid grip on what the creators were trying to convey.

So I was disappointed that this graphic novel didn't manage to leave a lasting impression, or hit any particular right notes for me, save for a page here and there. I didn't feel invested because, as I mentioned, the topics that intrigued me the most, such as girlhood, coming-of-age, and depression weren't explored to the fullest; we remained on the surface of things without budging.

Though I was left me unmoved for the most, I'll end my review on a brighter note by sharing some of the pages that managed to spark something inside me:

Skim 2-- bookspoils

Skim 3-- bookspoils

Skim 4-- bookspoils

Skim 5-- bookspoils

Skim 6-- bookspoils


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Profile Image for luce (that loser crying on the n° 2 bus).
1,436 reviews4,036 followers
May 27, 2022
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Who knew that I would come across something that would make me feel nostalgia for the mid-2000s? Skim is a compelling coming-of-age story that is bound to make you feel nostalgic for the mid-2000s (even if you, like me, didn’t strictly ‘come of age’ in that time). Skim captures the angst, confusion, heartache, and loneliness experienced by its titular character with empathy and insight. Kimberly Keiko Cameron, who goes by the nickname of ‘Skim’, is an aspiring Wiccan goth enrolled at a private girls school. She has a best friend who is very much vocal about her dislike and contempt for the ‘popular’ girls or anything she deems mainstream. When Katie Matthews, one of said popular girls, is dumped by her boyfriend who then goes on to commit suicide, well, the school is thrown into chaos. Some students are very much into performing their grief, exaggerating their connection to the boy and the impact that his death has had on them. Others cluster around Katie, their attempts at comforting her bordering on the oppressive. The staff is made newly aware of the importance of their students’ mental health and identify Skim, a quiet Goth, as someone to keep their eye on. Skim herself sinks further into depression as her only friend becomes increasingly toxic. When Skim develops an infatuation with one of her teachers, well, things get even more complicated for her.
I liked how this graphic novel avoids the usual teen coming-of-age tropes. Skim may be a bit of an outsider but, as we see, the social hierarchies within her school aren’t wholly inflexible (not all of the popular girls hate her or are portrayed as boy-crazed & vapid). Additionally, just because you aren't part of the popular clique, does not mean you are necessarily a nice person (take Skim’s BFF for example). At times you can grow apart from a friend without any real ‘reason’. Much of the story reads like a slice-of-live dealing with suicide, depression, alternative culture, sexuality, and first love. The narrative never felt moralistic or contrived and I loved the pacing of the story. Skim was a likeable and relatable character who is dealing with a lot of different emotions and can’t quite make sense of what she wants or who she wants to be.
In addition to loving Mariko Tamaki’s storytelling, I adored Jillian Tamaki’s illustrations. Her style has a sketchy edge to it that goes hand in hand with Mariko’s narrative.

I loved how at the ending two characters come together and it is left open to interpretation whether their relationship is platonic or romantic. I did wish for a slightly longer conclusion, but then again, that just may be because I did not want to leave Skim and her world behind. The teacher-student relationship could also have been addressed a bit more. Still, these are minor things and I would happily read this graphic novel again & again.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,059 reviews31.3k followers
July 18, 2018
This book is interesting. Did I really enjoy it? Not really that much. I did appreciate all the high school angst and the characters. Everyone seems to be turning on you and being your friend all wrapped into one. There are the popular girls and parties with them and then the Asians get kicked out.

Black and White art. The art was ok. The story was ok. I was not impressed really. It could be just me.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,517 reviews8,971 followers
August 7, 2019
Love the angsty, nostalgic vibe of this graphic novel. Skim follows Skim, a girl in high school who practices witchcraft and thinks a lot about life and death. She’s sad a lot, perhaps depressed, and that’s where Mariko and Jillian Tamaki draw strength in this graphic novel – the way they capture this sadness with intimacy, poignancy, and subtlety. I know I had an emo phase as a preteen and had lots of angsty moments throughout my teen years (and I still have those moments, lol) and this book helped bring me back to those emotions. Jillian Tamaki illustrates this angst well, with sweeping yet detailed black and white drawings that show how lonely Skim feels in her life. The Tamaki sisters incorporate a range of important themes, like sexuality, suicide, and isolation with a fine touch, while focusing in on Skim’s heart and how these themes affect her, both immensely and tangentially.

Despite enjoying the subtlety of the novel, I wanted a stronger plot as well as more of a progression of Skim’s character leading toward the story’s end. The story felt fragmented to me, and while on one hand I can see the appeal of that fragmentation – it’s very slice of life, a bare and uninterrupted look into an angsty teen’s life – I found it difficult to stay engaged in the story or invested in the characters with not much happening. Toward the end of the book, I felt unsure about if Skim had grown, or what changes had manifested within herself or her life or anywhere. Again, perhaps this more meandering plot was the point of the book, but I wanted more character growth or clear meaning.

A unique graphic novel I’d recommend to those searching for a slice of authentic teen angst. Mariko Tamaki later wrote Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me , one of my absolute favorite books and graphic novels of all time, so perhaps that represents growth as a writer (or just my mediocre taste preventing me from liking Skim all that much). Excited to read more of her work in the future, as both graphic novels contain an emotional authenticity I really appreciate.
Profile Image for Jackie "the Librarian".
881 reviews268 followers
August 20, 2008
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 one other girl dressed as figure skaters and ballerinas, the carless geek dates. And I liked the gently melancholic undertone, visually represented through the fall setting.
This is a quiet and subtle story, which reminded me of my own high school years. I liked it a lot.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,062 followers
October 1, 2017
Mucha nostalgia de mi época adolescente con esta novela gráfica.
¿Quién no odia A TODO EL MUNDO cuando es adolescente?
Profile Image for Lily.
289 reviews50 followers
November 16, 2015
I mean, there's heartbroken and then there's all the stuff that comes each second after that, depending on who broke your heart.

There's something purifying about this book: the monochromatic color scheme, the fine lettering, the whispered polyphony of words and images.

The reader drifts, leaf-like, through a chilly autumn at a Canadian all-girls school in the early 1990s. The ex-boyfriend of one of the popular girls had just killed himself, sending the community on an upward (but actually downward) spiral of frantically life-affirming positivity. As the world winds itself tightly around this dead stranger, we meet Kim: queer, biracial, goth, loner, would-be wiccan, a human in the process of untangling herself.

It's amazing how, when you don't feel something everyone else feels, it just looks like nothing. Like watching people dance to a song you don't like.

Every experience of grief is different, and some are more socially endorsed than others. We watch from a great distance as Katie, the girl whose boyfriend died, stumbles along in a way that no one understands. She can't accept the brand of consolation forced upon her by her clique and they, in turn, eventually can't accept her. But she has everything in life - surely she doesn't need our sympathy. And why would she, when we've never spoken to her.

At one point, Kim reflects on a school production of Our Town: due to a shortage of roles, she took the role of the night, but some in the audience thought she was the moon. The story closes retaining this ambiguity: is Kim one with the darkness of detachment and rumors, or has she inadvertently become a light by which that darkness is reduced?
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
June 27, 2017
I love this book, a graphic novel for teens, with a twist that might make it difficult for teachers to use it in some schools (I'm a teacher, so this matters, what might get censored), but I would push to use it. In a private/Catholic girls school, Skim (for Kim, but they meanly nicknamed her Skim, which she explains she is NOT--i.e., she's a little chunky) is bff with Lisa, and are sorta wannabe goth girls, into Wicca, (and that is already for me unique in YA stories). The moody relationship swings seem spot on, as does the dialogue, and the complicated secret Kim has . . . okay, I'll tell you: She has a crush on her (female) English teacher. Feels very real, emotionally. Deals with issues of "suicidal tendencies" of yet another girl, feels real. I liked it very very much. The art from writer Mariko's cousin Jillian is amazing. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Tori.
77 reviews22 followers
January 31, 2016
i had really high hopes for this graphic novel because, hello, queer young asian girl who struggles with her mental health and Isn't Thin! which, tbh, i think was an unfair burden of an expectation.

it's a quiet kind of read, and tamaki really captures the quiet emptiness of depression/growing up/feeling like an outsider bc of ur queerness.

that said – the teacher/student relationship made me REALLY uncomfortable. i had a moment where i was like 'wtf did u tag for this shit??' before remembering that this wasn't a fic on ao3. ALAS. idk man, i think it wasn't handled as horribly as it could've been, but still, like. c'mon. C'MON. i probs would've given this one two stars if it weren't for the ending. i really liked the ending. :')

EDIT, 1/31/16: i've changed my rating from three to two stars because the ending hasn't stuck with me but the teacher-student relationship definitely has. :/
Profile Image for Seth T..
Author 4 books872 followers
July 30, 2011
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 overblown trivialities. Their insights are comically common, with the depth of a drying brook. Their social perception is little better than that of gradeschoolers—and what growth exists is generally diminished by an acute absence of wisdom. It’s good then that most authors diminish the realism of their teenage protagonists for the sake of their story, substituting instead younger versions of their adult selves.

I mean, it’s fine to have the occasional literary novel posit a realistic kid just so readers unfamiliar with our younger world-companions will remember that teenagers are really just like adults minus the perspective, wisdom, and restraint that experience grants those who live to be older than teenagers. But really, do we need more Harry Potter: Book Fives? Because in case you forgot, Harry was a repellent little punk in that book. Whiny, moody, reckless, selfish, and irritable. Harry was not someone whom I really wanted to spend that entire book with.

And it’s pretty much the same thing with Skim.

Kim, as protagonist, is not someone who captures reader interest. She bears the typical marks of teen self-righteousness, believing herself wise and aloof, better than those around her. She describes herself—in that perfectly elitist manner that seems unique to those who haven’t really seen much of the world—as a freak, as someone whom those around her could never possibly understand even if given the time an infinite number of monkeys are usually allotted to complete literary masterworks. She’s kind of a more reserved, less acerbic, less funny version of Ghost World‘s Enid. She’s also a bit of a dilettante, dabbling in the arts and in an amateurish brand of Wicca (she has an altar in her bedroom, goes to the woods to summon a recently deceased student, and wears charms meant to bring her love). She’s exactly as miserable as you would expect her to be. She is, after all, a teenager deeply in love with herself and the prison she can turn life into. (No offense to Wiccans or teenagers who aren’t these things.)

In the end, her troubles are typical and her response to them expected. There is no story to her story. Skim might as well be biography for how mundane it all is—biography of a perfectly average life with nothing to recommend it. There’s a reason that people don’t read biographies of the average person, that they don’t salivate to discover what occurs next in the life of Joe the bus driver or Cheryl the data analyst or Tom the elementary school custodian. It’s not that such people can’t be fascinating on an individual level or don’t lead wholly worthwhile lives. It’s more just that their stories aren’t different enough from our own to merit our interest.

Now don’t read me as saying there’s no place for teenagers or average people or mundane stories in fiction. Great literature is lousy with the stuff. The problem is when these stories either don’t take their characters to new places or, in choosing to maroon their characters in personal stagnation, have nothing to add to the human conversation. If a Cheryl-the-data-analyst story chronicling the humdrum of the day-in-and-out had a point or explored Cheryl in an interesting fashion or gave us a better view of ourselves, then maybe a story about Cheryl would merit the pages devoted to her. Stories don’t have to be all about churning out one exciting event after another. Things besides plot are allowed to arc. An interesting bit of insight or turn of character could have turned Skim around in a heartbeat—or at least nudged it in the right direction. I kept waiting for that to come.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Note to teachers: it’s never appropriate to kiss your students in the woods.
Even if it’s a lesbian kiss.

Despite the fact that Skim, as a story, fails to generate anything better than ambivalence toward its characters’ plights, the book’s dialogue is competent enough. None of the characters seem overblown or outlandish and there’s not a lot of the kind of unbelievable soliloquy that often inhabits the day-in-the-life genre (writer Mariko Tamaki saves that for the journal-entry narration that interprets all events for us). Really, I could see almost everything in this book actually happening and I could believe that a sixteen year-old would write about these things in this manner. Unfortunately, I think Skim could use a little less believability.

Really, it’s a shame about the story. And not just because I had to read through the entire thing. Artist Jillian Tamaki does a beautiful job with the script she’s given. Her characters flow naturally and her balance of white and black and midtones set a number of visually impressive stages. She excels especially in her drawings of the woods, lending a very organic sense to these two-dimensional representations. Actually, the same could be said for some of her figure-work as well. Particularly, the way in which she renders Kim in soft, rounded lines gives the girl a sense of believability.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Strange how I’m praising believability in the art but lashing out
against it in the writing,but that’s just the way this one falls out.

I am not the target audience for Skim. The only problem is that I’m not sure who is. Maybe a very particular sort of teenager (or an adult attached to re-evaluating their own pasts through the mistakes of fictional characters) could find its contents invigourating. Maybe I’m not being generous enough. But at the end of the day, while the book has certain qualities to recommend it, Skim was a chore for me to finish and so I’m hard pressed to recommend the book to anyone.

[review courtesy of Good Ok Bad]
Profile Image for Tara.
200 reviews389 followers
February 3, 2022
uhhh i really like the whole concept which is a sort of diary in the form of a graphic novel but the characters were pretty uninteresting and the student/teacher relationship made me uncomfy i didn't really get the point of it
Profile Image for jess.
852 reviews75 followers
March 18, 2009
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 navigates the dangerous waters of teen girl unpopularity. Skim has a crush on her art teacher that stabbed me right in the guts of every memory I have of my high school crushes on girls. It's a little bit Heathers (peppered with teen suicide references, and the annoying chipper "life affirming" aftermath), but Tamaki avoids the trap of the 1980s and rich-white-girl.
Profile Image for Travis.
614 reviews12 followers
October 29, 2017
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, but they're not. They're just part of what happens. That's part of what makes this feel like a story about teens rather than a story particularly for teens (though it's not inappropriate for teens by any means). [return][return]I really love the art, too. The style is obviously Japanese-influenced...but not manga-influenced. Take a look at the cover here, which immediately calls to mind traditional Japanese paintings. It makes for a rather unique comic style and I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Sara the Librarian.
773 reviews365 followers
June 27, 2017
This was a gently flowing, sweetly drawn and written graphic novel from Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, the artist and writer behind the equally wonderful This One Summer.

Skim's real name is Kimberly Keiko Cameron and she's called "Skim" because as she puts it "I'm not." She spends her days skipping classes at her all girls high school with her best frenemy Lisa reading Tarot cards and experimenting with Wicca. Things change suddenly when the boyfriend of a popular girl at school, Katie, suddenly commits suicide and the rumor begins to circulate that he took his life because he was secretly gay. Soon the popular girls are rallying around starting support groups for suicidal teens and smothering Katie with "help" and Lisa seems to be drifting away from their morose twosome toward the cheer leading, boy chasing mean girls she's always professed to hate.

Skim herself is also wrestling with secrets. She's finding herself drawn to their young bohemian English teacher, a passionate but clearly troubled woman and she struggles to deal with and ever widening gulf with her parents who've gone through a bitter divorce that's left Skim largely on her own. She's finding solace in food and its clear she's suffering less from typical teenage angst than plain old depression.

Then she begins to notice Katie who's clearly drowning under her "friends" attempts to help her. Is it possible that she's not the empty headed cheerleader Skim has always assumed she was?

This is a seriously gorgeous book. Its done in a sort of traditional Japanese art style, everyone's faces are just a tad elongated and widened and there's loads of flowing line work in the air around characters or in the way they move their limbs. Its a neat way to suggest the coltish way teens tend to knock around at that age, all arms and legs. The style also makes everyone's faces wonderfully expressive in an exaggerated way. Everyone has very small eyes and mouths and it somehow magnifies happiness and anger making every emotional reaction very dramatic again perfect for teenagers.

Despite dealing with some heavy topics the story has a relaxed almost meditative quality to it. There's something hopeful about Skim's journey and I never felt worried for her. She has an inner strength and surety, despite what's she's dealing with emotionally, that left me knowing things would be okay for her.

This is one of those "slice of life" reads that doesn't necessarily have a clear cut fairy tale happy ending but that's okay. Skim herself is only just beginning her life so its fitting that we don't really find out how it all turns out. But she learns a lot through the course of the story and she wears that new knowledge well. Its comforting and inspiring to feel by the last page that there was value in the struggle Skim's faced, that there was a point to everything. I hope I'm not spoiling things too much to say that one of the final images is Skim's head thrown back, her mouth wide, and her eyes crinkled in a moment of genuine, uninhibited laughter. Its a far cry from the tightly wound and even tighter faced girl from page one.

A perfect ending really.
Profile Image for Nikki.
494 reviews124 followers
July 19, 2019
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 finely drawn (literally and figuratively) that I felt like I knew them (and in a lot of ways I did). Girls dealing with first love and no love, too much attention and not enough, friends who turn into enemies who turn into acquaintances then vice versa and sometimes even back again. High school is like a non-stop roller coaster at times, and this book makes the ride feel so exquisite. Here’s hoping for a sequel.

Profile Image for Noran Miss Pumkin.
463 reviews94 followers
March 22, 2015
This book needed to come out of the closet more, on this issues it skirted on the edges about, al least for me. The weirdly shaped faces of the while girls really bothered me, while Skim's face was right out of Japanese art.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books348 followers
January 8, 2012
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 don't relate to them as being like myself when I was that age, since they are from a slightly later generation.

The main character, Kim ("Skim") is a biracial girl whose parents are separated. She's a goth and into wicca and tarot cards and she and her best friend are both somewhat outsiders at school and they totally think they are the only ones who really understand how stupid everyone else is and she's a little depressed and confused and her life sucks and don't you just feel so, so sorry for her? Yeah, even Skim would say she doesn't particularly deserve sympathy.

Anyway, somewhere in here is a story of a student-teacher crush which maybe makes Skim a lesbian and maybe not, and there are poignant episodes with Skim's best friend drifting away to become a typical boy-crazy teen who's totally in LOOOVE with her boyfriend, and meanwhile the bitter angry girl who jumped off a roof after her boyfriend dumped her just before committing suicide becomes her new friend. The turbulent, dynamic relationships of teenagers, their unfinished thoughts which seem so profound and important to them, and the general misery of being a high school student, is portrayed here with a deft touch.

Ultimately, though, it's a plot that doesn't really go anywhere, just as most teenagers don't have a "plot" for their high school career. Shit happens and you get through it and then someday you'll be an adult who writes condescending book reviews about fiction for teenagers that you just don't get.

So, I'm sure there are probably lots of teens who find Skim speaks for them, but it's basically kind of dull with expressive but not very impressive art. A good thing to have on library shelves, but not for me.
Profile Image for The Artisan Geek.
445 reviews7,262 followers
June 8, 2019
I decided not to review this on my channel, because looking back at my notes I took, there wasn't really much (good) to say about this comic, so here is a summary:
I felt the comic depicted a realistic view of high school was. You get to see people growing apart from another, people quickly changing. It really is a mosh pit of people crying out for attention and everyone is really just a mess, trying to figure out where they fit in and who they are. I felt the comic to be a bit peculiar, I'm not one for wicca/astrology and witches, so I could not really connect to the main character. The whole AA/coven meeting things was a bit weird as well.

I eventually finished reading this comic for the Asian Readathon. To quickly sum it up, it was an 'okay' comic, that definitely got better towards the end. I will be reviewing it fully on my Youtube channel this month!

I bought this to read for my Around the World in Books Series on Youtube. :)

You can find me on
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Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
May 11, 2010
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.
Profile Image for jesycu.
28 reviews72 followers
January 4, 2023
a sweet and tender reminder of how fucked up being a teenager is <3 there is almost always a tiny little apathetic and bitchy 16-year-old version of me on my shoulder and i carefully carry her wherever i go
Profile Image for kim ☆.
54 reviews39 followers
June 11, 2023
"Julie Peters is telling people that you are showing classic signs of someone who is suicidal." "Julie Peters needs a lobotomy."
yeah i'd say this book nailed the depressed queer teenage girl experience
Profile Image for Marissa.
288 reviews57 followers
June 9, 2010
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 extra layer of visual interest and adds dimension to the character. To top it all off, the book is also really well-written. Writers' attempts to craft an authentic teenage first-person voice, particularly in diary format, are almost always eye-rollingly bad, with too much slang thrown in and WAY too much Catcher-in-the-Rye-style faux-philosophical depth. Mariko Tamaki has done an excellent job of keeping the voice of her protagonist both authentic and sympathetic, while also avoiding many of the genre's worst cliches. This is the most impressed I've felt with a graphic novel's sensitivity and depth since the release of Persepolis. I can't wait to see more from the Tamakis and I highly recommend picking this up if you haven't yet.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,724 reviews103 followers
April 18, 2013
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 of packaged and sanctioned grief over the suicide of a boy she barely knew. The high school pressures and confusing social dynamics were fascinating and very realistic. And Kim/Skim herself really leaps off the page at the reader. I was left hoping that we will see more of her in sequel.

This is a very meaty story and it would make a great discussion book in a class or book club.
Profile Image for Brendan.
1,197 reviews54 followers
October 9, 2016
Took a little longer but I finally sat down and finished this one. I enjoyed the book and found the artwork cold but suiting the story. I just found this story to be brilliant and interesting, if you have a friend who thinks graphic storytelling is superheroes just hand them this. The story is part about accepting rejection and coming of age, that difficult step of developing yourself as a person. The cold artwork inks each page with careful precision, there isn't anything as fodder. I'm eager to track down more work by the author but my library is a little lacking in this department.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,093 reviews1,268 followers
March 1, 2020
although I liked the overall story and the development of our main character, I still feel like something was missing, or that it should have been longer. I enjoyed the second half so much more than the first, and I would have loved to have a bit more. it just felt a bit flat unfortunately.
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