Skim by Mariko TamakiSkim by Mariko Tamaki


byMariko TamakiIllustratorJillian Tamaki

Hardcover | January 1, 2008

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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 hold on to and something to believe in. It's a weird time to fall in love, but that's high school, and that's what happens to Skim when she starts to meet in secret with her neo-hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. But when Ms. Archer abruptly leaves, Skim struggles to cope with her confusion and isolation, armed with her trusty journal and a desire to shed old friendships while cautiously approaching new ones.

Depression, love, sexual identity, crushes, manipulative peers --teen life in all its dramatic complexities is explored in this touching, pitch-perfect, literary graphic masterpiece. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki collaborate brilliantly in this poignant glimpse into the heartache of being sixteen.

Mariko Tamaki is a writer and performer. Her work includes the novella Cover Me, creative non-fiction collections True Lies and Fake ID, comics Emiko Superstar (with Steve Rolston) and Skim (with Jillian Tamaki), and the young adult novel (You) Set Me On Fire. Her debut as a screenwriter/actor, Happy 16th Birthday Kevin, premiered at t...
Title:SkimFormat:HardcoverDimensions:144 pages, 10.31 × 7 × 0.69 inPublished:January 1, 2008Publisher:Groundwood Books LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0888997531

ISBN - 13:9780888997531

Appropriate for ages: 14


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Touching and rewarding graphic novel that I think anyone, regardless of age, will enjoy.
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic-ally Great Teen Read I had the opportunity to read this for my Canadian Literature class...And I am so happy this was included in our books to read. This graphic novel tackles subjects such as, depression, LGBTQ, suicide, bullying...And so much more. I was blown away by the vulnerability our main character, Kim had. It's truly a beautiful coming of age story that teens should immerse themselves in.
Date published: 2018-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nostalgic coming of age story I absolutely love how genuinely relatable the characters are in this, but what resonated with me the most was how (spoiler alert) by the end of the book, Skim and her best friend amicably part ways, still friends but more friendly-acquaintances than close ones, and how Skim surprisingly finds a closer one in Katie. It's a truth well told in fiction how growing up also in bitter-sweet ways, means outgrowing each other, not because you feel you've left them behind, but because you've grown into different people.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoughtful Beautiful images and compelling story.
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful! The illustrations are gorgeous. And the plot -- a coming-of-age story -- is the best depiction I've found of being an uncomfortable, misfit teenage girl.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Skim A good modern coming-of-age story from teen female POV. Nice blend of humour and grit...and the art work is very evocative.
Date published: 2015-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I got this out at my school's library yesterday at lunch and I've read it three times since then. I can really connect with Skim because I'm going through a similar situation as she is in the book. Not to mention the art is really beautiful; the lines, the movement of the drawings, the negative space added to the great characters and story it's possibly one of my favourite books now.
Date published: 2014-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great graphic novel I'm not used to comics that show more and tell less. As a result, Skim was really difficult for me to like. It took several reads to finally begin to see the beauty of the story, which ends with a lot of ambiguity. Skim is complex, and rightly so, given the perspective of the protagonist, and the show-don't-tell style. It is not your typical comic book. Jillian Tamaki's art is also very nice and goes well with the "panelling" of the book. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2011-05-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Read, don't Skim Skim is a competent, solid graphic novel about female adolescent coming of age. The art's good, the narrative perspective sympathetic and insightful, but the plot's . . . well, there's not much plot, really. Not that that matters, necessarily, as this is primarily a character piece, and a perfectly fine one. It's not mind-blowing or the new gold standard in the bildungsroman, but it's well worth a read, especially for fans of the GN medium.
Date published: 2009-07-23

Read from the Book

Dear Diary,Today Lisa said, "Everyone thinks they are unique." That is not unique!!

Editorial Reviews

"...the expressionistic fluidity of the black and white illustrations serves the purpose of pages of prose, so that the laconic conversation of these girls and Skim's almost equally economical and intermittent diary entries ring true." - Canadian Literature"Being able to tap into that visceral experience, warts and all, is what makes Skim such an amazing read...A powerful and poignant story that is as perfect a synergy of words and art as you're likely to find in comics, Skim is a true gem." - Metro"...avoids all the cliches of a coming-of-age story...Original in every which way." - Valerie D'Orazio, Friends of Lulu"...intelligent choice...a sensitive and caring portrayal of youth...universal...a complete success...[Jillian's] storytelling is solid...[and] her art is very atmospheric..." - Gay Comics List"...traverse[s] the turbulent landscape of high school with tenderness and a keen eye for the yearning of adolescent girls...From the particularities of slang to the bigger concepts like fear and isolation, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki capture the subtle details that comprise this understated part of life...a world [in] which anyone who has ever been a teenager would be able to relate to at some level...Jillian Tamaki's use of line and shadow is effective in rendering the psychology of characters and the moody spaces they find themselves in...Formally, Skim is interesting for its varied approach to panel-use. Some pages flaunt over 10 similarly sized and shaped panels while others reveal only one (often silent) borderless image. The overall effect reveals impressive artwork and many powerful scenes...Skim is a unique piece, one not to be missed. Highly Recommended. [Skim uses] high school as a fertile setting for pungent commentary on racial, cultural, and sexual issues...The narrative, mainly in diary form, feels accurate and realistic, drenched in a sense of confusion and nihilism, and the art, influenced by Craig Thompson's Blankets (2003), reflects the spare, gloomy emotional landscape in which Skim exists. This story will appeal to many female comics fans..." - CM Magazine"...[Skim is a] stunningly emotional graphic artful jumble that is as true-to-life as it is diffuse...unfussy and immediate...The delicately lined art alternately expands and contradicts the prose to achieve layers of meaning, tone and irony...With honesty and compassion, this innovative narrative communicates a life just beginning, open and full of possibility." - Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW"...[Skim] manages to avoid the usual cliches...The b/w cirt is fluid and curvy and looks like it came straight out of a sketchbook. The little details are wonderful...Highly recommended for high school graphic novel colelctions, especially those catering to girls." - Kliatt"...rendered delicately...Mariko's writing is assured...Skim's self-searching entries are wrenched off or lit up by the next image...Skim comes into its own, building a teenage girl mood that's struggling observant and shyly heartfelt by turns." - Vue Weekly"[Skim] is a convincing chronicle of a teenage outsider who has enough sense to want to stay outside...All in all, Skim offers a startlingly clear and painful view into adolescence for those of us who possess it only as a distant memory. It's a story that deepens with successive rereadings. But what will teenagers think? Maybe that they've found a bracingly honest story by a writer who seems to remember exactly what it was like to be 16 and in love for the first time." - New York Times"Skim comes out on top...connects in every way...This graphic novel is a winner...a unique creation...Scenes are often hilarious and black-humoured as well as serious...Mariko Tamaki's prose captures an authentic adolescent voice that's dramatic, self-obsessed, funny, earnest, and sometimes glib...Skim is an unforgettable character in the tradition of Holden Caulfield-a clear social commentator on adult and adolescent behaviour whose ironic observations on social hypocrisy ring sharp and true...Illustrator Jillian Tamaki's fine draughtsmanship gives Skim a classic elegance that's missing in many other graphic novels...a powerful sense of mystical eeriness that deepens and enhances the story. Skim is a funny, poignant, memorable drama of navigating adolescence." - Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW"The Tamaki cousins in their first graphic novel take a huge fistful of typical high school story trappings and distill a beautiful and funny time capsule of real feeling...striking black-and-white artwork flows in clear but soft, shaded line work...The visual storytelling is firm and often quite lovely...Skim is a refreshing reminder of the inevitability of change and the importance of looking beneath the surface." - VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)"This beautifully rendered graphic novel portrays the confusion of adolescence and how it can lead to depression and experimentation." - Book Links" auspicious graphic novel debut by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki...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...evocative and wondrous...It complements Mariko's fine ear for dialogue and the incidentals and events of adolescent life. Skim is an unusually strong graphic novel-rich in visuals and observations, and rewarding of repeated readings." - Publishers Weekly"...brilliantly told and illustrated coming of age tale that will appeal to young readers and adults alike. This book deals with a number of themes that are relevant to teenagers (including suicide, parental separation, youthful alienation, the journey to finding oneself, love, and many others). The story is told in a way that is hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measure." -"[Skim uses] high school as a fertile setting for pungent commentary on racial, cultural, and sexual issues...The narrative, mainly in diary form, feels accurate and realistic, drenched in a sense of confusion and nihilism, and the art, influenced by Craig Thompson's Blankets (2003), reflects the spare, gloomy emotional landscape in which Skim exists. This story will appeal to many female comics fans..." - Booklist"[Skim] is bringing kudos to Canadian children's book publisher Groundwood Books for its poignant and funny portrayal of a teenage girl...[Jillian Tamaki's] monochromatic ink drawings with their fluid lines add powerful cinematic storytelling to [Mariko Tamaki's] minimalist text...Jillian's ability to catch the gestures and body language of the private school girls in their plaid skirts and knee socks equals Mariko's well-attuned ear for dialogue. The combination of words and images makes Skim a fully rounded and memorable character struggling with a welter of confused feelings...we feel for her...[Jillian Tamaki] has won several awards. It seems a sure bet that Skim will garner her a few more." - Calgary Herald"A gorgeous, poetic pen line and sharp dialogue bring this angsty story of a disaffected teenage girl to life." - Publishers Weekly"Jillian Tamaki's illustrations perfectly match the rough edges and continuous movement of Skim's teenage characters and reveal humour in the agonizing minutiae of high school life...Mariko Tamaki's text blends teen-speak with eloquence and wry one-liners...blending colloquialisms and sharp observations into something profound..." - Toronto Star"No medium can capture the sense of being plunged into another person's mind like comics can, and Skim is the perfect example, its words and pictures and storytelling so unified in conjuring Kim's world that it comes as a surprise to see it has two creators rather than one...The careful layering of perception, desire, and reality is handled so deftly that the effect is almost subliminal...The Tamakis have done the hardest and most rewarding thing an artist can do: they have captured the texture of real life and made it into something beautiful." - Irish Times"Skim is a wonderful example of the potential of graphic novels to be both gripping and heartbreaking, proving their ability to act as social commentary on issues such as race, gender and sexuality amidst the callous backdrop of high school. This first collaboration proves that Mariko and Jillian Tamaki undoubtedly have the potential to mould the future of graphic novels, providing young women with thought-provoking and visually pleasing fiction." -"Stunningly drawn, [Skim] brilliantly charts the deep and sometimes desperate conflicts and moods that prevail in teen years...Easily accessible, it gives a sympathetic and realistic view of adolescence." - Julia Eccleshare,"The Tamaki cousins in their first graphic novel take a huge fistful of high school story trappings and distill a beautiful and funny time capsule of real feeling... Skim is a refreshing reminder of the inevitability of change and the importance of looking beneath the surface." - VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)"The tricky part with graphic novels is getting the story to be as good as the drawings, and [the Tamakis] have figured out a winning combination for sure. The story is riveting and will bring you right back to 11th grade angst within the first few pages. Jillian Tamaki has an especially expressive, loose style that lends itself beautifully to this slightly morose tale." - Bust"This stunning coming-of-age novel will draw in not only GN buffs, who will appreciate the creative design and dramatic use of both illustration and narration, but also realistic-fiction fans who may not normally gravitate to the format but will find this a sympathetic standout." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"Writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Jillian Tamaki stunningly entwine their acute dialogues and visual riches in brush, soft pencil and grey tones, illuminating this adolescent romance in all its conflicted depths. [Skim is the] most sophisticated and sensitive North American graphic novel debut of the year." - Paul Gravett"A quietly moving graphic novel...sharply witty and incisive...Long, languid lines portray Skim's turmoil and angst with pitch-perfect resonance...Recommend this to fans of Daniel Clowes's Ghost World, who have been waiting for another graphic novel of teen angst and suburban ennui." - Kirkus Reviews