The New York Times
Skimby Mariko Tamaki
"Skim" is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school in the early '90s. When her classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself possibly because he's (maybe) gay the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. It's a weird time to fall in love, but that's what happens to
"Skim" is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school in the early '90s. When her classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself possibly because he's (maybe) gay the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. It's a weird time to fall in love, but that's what happens to Skim when she starts meeting secretly with her neo-hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. But then Ms. Archer abruptly leaves the school, and Skim has to cope with her confusion and isolation while her best friend, Lisa, tries to pull her into "real" life by setting up a hilarious double-date for the school's semi formal. Suicide, depression, love, homosexuality, crushes, cliques of popular, manipulative peers the whole gamut of teen life is explored in this poignant glimpse into the heartache of being 16.
The New York Times
This auspicious graphic novel debut by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki tells the story of "Skim," aka Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a goth girl in an all-girls school in Toronto, circa the early '90s. Skim is an articulate, angsty teenager, the classic outsider yearning for some form of acceptance. She begins a fanciful romance with her English teacher, Ms. Archer, while nursing her best friend through a period of mourning. The particulars of the story may not be its strong suit, though. It's Jillian's artwork that sets it apart from the coming-of-age pack. Jillian has a swooping, gorgeous pen line-expressive, vibrant and precise all at once. Her renderings of Skim and her friends, Skim alone or just the teenage environment in which the story is steeped are evocative and wondrous. Like Craig Thompson's Blankets, the inky art lifts the story into a more poetic, elegiac realm. It complements Mariko's fine ear for dialogue and the incidentals and events of adolescent life. Skimis an unusually strong graphic novel-rich in visuals and observations, and rewarding of repeated readings. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Gr 10 Up -Kimberly Keiko Cameron-aka "Skim"-is a mixed-race high school student struggling with identity, friendships, and romantic yearning. After her parentsa' divorce, she turns to tarot cards and Wicca to make sense of life but finds herself disappointed with the lack of answers they provide. She finds herself increasingly intrigued by Ms. Archer, her free-spirited English teacher. Her interest becomes obsessive and it begins to drive a wedge between her and her best friend, Lisa. Although Skim originally makes light of the half-hearted suicide attempts of popular Katie, whose ex-boyfriend committed suicide, the two of them begin to open up to one another. Skim soon realizes that "perfect" Katie is far funnier, more genuine, and more traumatized than she originally thought-particularly when it comes to light that John shot himself due to his homosexuality. Drawn in an expressive, fluid style and with realistic dialogue, this work accurately depicts the confusion of teenage years, with its rejection of previous identity and past relationships and search for a newer and truer identity; additionally, insider/outsider status is a reoccurring theme. Skima's internal monologue is diarylike, with an interesting use of "scratched-out" words. This is a good but somewhat standard work.-Dave Inabnitt, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
- Groundwood Books
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.80(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 17 Years
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Skim is one of my favorite graphic novels at all time. The juxtaposition of Jillian Tamaki's extremely Japanese artistic sensibilities (the characters, especially Skim, resemble people from 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints) with the contemporary story and characters is jarring, but not in a bad way at all. And the storytelling is flawless. It captures the mundanity, confusion, and angst of a lonely teenager's life in a way I haven't seen anyone else manage to do. It's just a really, rally great piece of artwork and storytelling.
Skim is, first and foremost, about sexuality. Without delving too deeply into the plot I would like to say that this is the most sensitive, realistic portrayal of realizing identity I have ever read or seen, and it is, for me, the most relatable. Also the art is amazing--Jillian Tamaki's work reflects traditional Japanese block printing at times, and muromachi period brush painting at others.