Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Written by Mariko Tamaki
Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Fiction/Graphic Novel, 2008
Groundwood Books (Anansi Press), hardback, 140 p.
Winner of the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel, 2008
“Skim” is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school. When her classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counsellors 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…
I don’t remember now where I first heard of this graphic novel, but I had it on my list of books to look for while I was in Canada over Christmas last year, and it did, in fact, come back with me. The recent read-a-thon was the perfect occasion to finally read it. It’s the story of a somewhat ordinary, shy girl not really knowing how to deal with all the new, intense, confusing emotions she’s experiencing. I don’t personally know any teenagers these days but the character of Kim felt very real. The illustrations were wonderfully expressive and did a great job portraying her internal conflict as she tries to come to terms with who she really is. I think a lot of us can, at least I know I could, relate to being a teenager, feeling alone and misunderstood. As Skim says, “Being sixteen is officially the worst thing I’ve ever been.”
With some moments of wry humour and sadness, it’s a touching story of growing up. Recommended.

Images © Jillian Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki's website
Mariko Tamaki's blog
Jillian Tamaki's website
Jillian Tamaki's sketchbook
Review in The New York Times

First sentence: Dear Diary,
Today Lisa said, “Everyone thinks they are unique.” That is not unique!!

My Rating: 4/5
(#26 for 2009, Graphic Novels Challenge, 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Book Awards II Challenge)

Also reviewed at:
Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
Bookgirl's Nightstand
Life in the Thumb
words by Annie
nothing of importance
Sassymonkey Reads
If you've also reviewed this title, let me know and I'll link to it here.


  1. That is so cool! I will try to get this at the lib. I am following your graphic novel choices after you introduced me to could I not?

  2. I have seen a few good reviews of this book. I think I might have to give it a read!

  3. I loved this one! thought it was fantastic. I'd love to see more by her!

  4. This is definitely one I'll be reading soon. I think this is the first time I see what the inside art looks like. I like the style a lot.

  5. bethany - LOL. Well I hope you enjoy this one too! :)

    Kailana - You'll fly through it in an hour, but it was a good one.

    Chris - It sure made me glad that high school is well behind me!

    Nymeth - I think you'll like it, and I look forward to your review. :)

  6. I really enjoyed this one too! I've recommended it to my nieces!

  7. I really liked this one too. I was so impressed that there were some really tough subjects that the author tried to touch on. I think I just expected some regular angsty teen stuff but this seemed to delve more into what teens go through or could go through nowadays.

  8. I keep seeing graphic novels everywhere lately and I keep writing comments that say, "maybe this will be my next!" Seriously--they all look so good. And I had no idea about Ignatz Award--off to look at that for GN inspriation!

  9. Staci - I found your review and added it. This book made me think about my own experiences too. :)

    Iliana - I looked up your review too. I thought it was great that the story touches on such serious topics. More proof that graphic novels aren't just superhero action stories.

    Trish - I had no idea about the Ignatz Award either. I just stumbled upon it when I was googling links for Skim. Have fun choosing some Graphic Novels!


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