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Skellig

(Skellig #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  25,971 ratings  ·  2,823 reviews
Unhappy about his baby sister's illness and the chaos of moving into a dilapidated old house, Michael retreats to the garage and finds a mysterious stranger who is something like a bird and something like an angel... ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Laurel Leaf (first published August 11th 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)
Julia I haven’t read either of those books, but I strongly recommend Skellig and its prequel My Name is Mina. (Read Skellig first)
It has strong themes of fa…more
I haven’t read either of those books, but I strongly recommend Skellig and its prequel My Name is Mina. (Read Skellig first)
It has strong themes of family and friendship with mystery and intrigue, and I enjoyed it very much the first time when I was nine and just as much in my twenties.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  25,971 ratings  ·  2,823 reviews


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Lisa of Troy
Apr 15, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Don’t be angry. Be my friend.” – David Almond, Skellig

Written in 1998, Skellig is a young adult fantasy novella which focuses on a young boy named Michael. He is experiencing multiple high stress events in his life. He has moved into a very creepy old house, and his mother has just given birth to a newborn sister. His sister is extremely ill, and it is uncertain whether she will live. One day, Michael wanders into the garage and discovers a very strange man. Who is this man? Will Michael’s sist
...more
Maggie Stiefvater
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Lisa
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My daughter stands in front of her overflowing bookshelf, where her brothers put books they consider "for younger readers". What shall I read? She only has about eight books on a pile next to her bed, so it is definitely a question of existential importance...

She finds Skellig, takes it out, and I am secretly watching her, knowing she will be in for a rare treat!

This is a beautiful book, not only for children. Michael's life has been turned upside down by the serious illness of his baby sister.
...more
Sean Barrs
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Charlotte May
3.5 stars. Lovely little fable, only 170 pages I finished it pretty quickly and really enjoyed it. Sweet tale of friendship, family, love and imagination.
Michael finds what he assumes to be a homeless man - hiding out in the garage of the new house he has moved into with his parents and baby sister.
What follows is a tremendous story of this man - known as Skellig, and the change he brings about both physically and emotionally to Michael's family, without ever being seen by anyone other than Mic
...more
karen
Feb 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: kiddiwinx
i'm no teen, so i can't 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....

come to my blog!
...more
Clare
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Lynda
"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
...more
Greg
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Ammara Abid
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Elegant cover,
Superb title,
and what a story! ♡
Absolutely brilliant.
I truly adore this loving, fascinating & quick read book.
Bradley
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-shelf, fantasy, ya
It's odd. The first time I read anything that could be considered Magical Realism, I was super impressed by the subtlety and the grounding of the tale, as if it was mostly traditional fiction bordering on allegory, only milder.

After a certain point, each Magical Realism tale sits rather more blandly than the last.

It's Fantasy-lite. For those people who are scared of using their imaginations but like a little bit of awe, a little bit of wonder.

Imagine such a person saying, "Oh, no, I'd never rea
...more
Exina
My first Almond: it was a memorable reading experience.


“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."

Poetic, magical, mysterious, and thought-provoking. Very unique.
"What is is?"
"I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s true or if it’s a dream."
"That’s alright. Truth and Dreams are always getting muddled."

Recommended!
...more
Sali-steady-read
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's a story full of mystery and also reality of our lives, I enjoyed the story and the way it was written as a teenager and I still love reviewing it... ...more
Kim
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Teresa
Sep 18, 2012 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
...more
Jo
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Rebecca Maye Holiday
The British movie adaptation of this book re-titled the story "The Owl Man", which perhaps makes sense, although there's a kind of wild charm in not knowing entirely what Skellig is or why his mannerisms are the way that they are. David Almond's bizarrely wonderful coming-of-age fantasy novel about a young boy facing changes in a new environment has elements of Nanny McPhee and The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, these kinds of quirky, engaging atmospheres and aesthetics where fantastic occ ...more
Julie
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Well this was an unusual read! This is an original telling of a story about a family going through a difficult time of uncertainty with their newest member, a baby girl. I loved how close-knit the family was and how they took time for each other and supported each other. I almost believed their love alone might heal their baby! The element of fantasy certainly kept things interesting. The response of one of the surgeons in the hospital was unexpected, especially that he took the time to respond ...more
Moira Macfarlane
Magical, philosophical, touching and sweet.
'So he took his wings and fled:
Then the morn blush'd rosy red.'
...more
Jack Stark
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
6.258965 stars

I first read Skellig a number of years ago and instantly fell in love with it. I was fortunate enough to not have the story pushed on me at school and instead find it on my own after leaving school. I now read it at least once every year. It is by far one of my all time favourite stories ever. The past couple of reads have been listening to the audiobook during my daily walks/train journeys and it’s just delightful.

Skellig is, on the surface, a story about a boy (Michael) who finds
...more
Jane Scholey
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. What a creation of a character Skellig is. Obvs I am a huge fan of Almond. Not just because he grew up in the streets around the corner from my house, but because his story telling is so wonderful. You go on a journey with the characters and root for them to do well.
I remember the look on my Y5 class' face when they saw a trail of white feathers outside of the classroom, leading to a bunch of boxes at the back. Brilliant!!!!
...more
Howard
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fiction
4.5 Stars for Skellig (audiobook) by David Almond read by the author. This is a really charming YA story. The author did a great job narrating.
The Book Queen
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
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.
...more
Jenny
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
This is a beautiful book about the interconnectedness of humans, nature (animals, specifically), and celestial beings. I love the genre of magical realism, and this book falls right into that. The concept is unique, and I really like the main characters, Michael, Mina, and Skellig. The concept sort of reminds me of the chapter in Mary Poppins that deals with Michael and Jane's younger siblings, which puts forth the idea that babies can talk to animals but lose the ability as they get older and b ...more
Brad
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
jess
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, yaf, audiobook-d, fiction
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, magica ...more
Debra
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read some of the positive and negative reviews, and frankly agree wholeheartedly with the positive ones, and am puzzled by the negative. This is one of those types of young adult fiction novels that folks of all ages can enjoy, and take something great away from the experience. There aren't cruel parents; they are loving and caring, and sometimes fallible. There aren't cruel children, just confused, joyful, emotional, and fearful REAL ones. There aren't cruel teachers, but caring and intere ...more
Julia
This book is mysterious. It is thought-provoking. It creates many questions and offers no obvious solutions. It makes me cringe and yet want to keep reading. Somehow all of this works together to create a piece of beauty. The characters are dynamic and fascinating, and the scenes are crafted exceptionally well. I don't know what else to say, but it is just one of those books that everyone should read once both because it is so interesting but also because the novel deserves so much credit! ...more
Liz
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 realist ...more
Hannah
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, fantasy-magic
I've been wanting to read this since I suddenly remembered how much I loved the film growing up, and this book did not disappoint! 10 years later and I still love this story.

This book is beautiful representation for what it feels like to lose control over your life, and to be experiencing so much change happening around you that can be such a struggle to cope with, and the loneliness that comes with this.

I think the overall theme of this novel is that no situation is made better completely on y
...more
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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 be ...more

Other books in the series

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

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