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Tamaki, Mariko

(Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Baker & Taylor
Presents the whole gamut of tortured teen life--friends, love, depression, suicide, and cliques--through the eyes of Skim, a.k.a. Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a would-be Wiccan goth at a girls' academy in Toronto during the 1990s.

Perseus Publishing
"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.

Publisher: Toronto : Groundwood Books, 2010
ISBN: 9780888999641
Branch Call Number: GRAPHIC GN FIC T
Characteristics: 141 p. : chiefly ill. ; 26 cm.
Additional Contributors: Tamaki, Jillian 1980-


From the critics

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May 27, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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 others' company and Kim falls in love with her English teacher, Ms. Archer.

It's an honest piece of work. Kim isn't above the other girls, she just doesn't see herself as one of them, and she is as quick to make judgement of others as they are to make them of her. Overall a very enjoyable, and slightly nostalgic, read.

Apr 10, 2014
  • forbesrachel rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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 from this, thus pointing to the unreliability of stereotyping. She too, is not above being prejudiced, as she often makes comments to herself about those of the popular clique. The suicide of a fellow student, and its subsequent events reveal a completely different side to one of these girls though, and Kim soon finds a true friend in her. For this emotional-filled ride, the artist uses a delicately-inked black and white style with a classical Asian flare. The comic itself acts like Skim's physical diary, as she scratches out words, and changes her thoughts. She reports on her day to day life, family problems, and personal issues in this diary. Through all the alienation, she tries to come to terms with her life, love, and those around her. Despite being fiction, Skim's down to earth realism, and use of Kim as the narrator, gives it the feel of an autobiography.

Nov 23, 2013
  • Legomyeggo33 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It was okay. The plot was not very unique and the ending sucked.

Aug 28, 2013
  • bandblair rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The best GN I've read this year.

Feb 07, 2012
  • deneler rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Favorite graphic novel this year.

Jun 17, 2011
  • tamaravh rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The problem with a really good graphic novel is that it is easy to read through it too quickly. This is true for Skim. The images are good but the story is better and that will make you breeze through it. I plan on checking it out again so I can reread it at a slower pace to savor it.

Sep 02, 2009
  • Aim_for_peace rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The ending was decidedly abrupt, but otherwise I adored this graphic novel. Tons of complexity and oozing with teenage angst

Aug 29, 2009
  • DavidB rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Skim is a sensitive and gentle story of a girl's struggle with high-school and budding sexual identity. The illustrations have the delicate brush-work of Japanese caligrophy. Each face has it’s own unique and subtle expression. The writing is intimate and perfectly reveals the heart of character. Together writer and artist dance intimately in an intricate performance; Neither dominates the other and both complimenting the other.

The story itself is a beautifully touching in it’s subtlety and elegance. A must read for those who love expressive stories about humanity, love, loss, identity and growing up.

P.S. Mariko and her cousin Jillian were nominated in four categories in the Eisner Awards 2009 and won Best Book at the 2009 Doug Wright Awards.

Jan 15, 2009
  • GGirl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

An easy read, good illustrations to follow story.
A high school drama, something we grow out of, thank goodness.

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Dec 20, 2008
  • DavidB rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

DavidB thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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app09 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52