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Skim (NY Times Best Illustrated Children's Books) Hardcover – February 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: NY Times Best Illustrated Children's Books
  • Hardcover: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books; F First Edition edition (February 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888997531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888997531
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. Skim is an unusually strong graphic novel-rich in visuals and observations, and rewarding of repeated readings. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–Kimberly Keiko Cameron–aka Skim–is a mixed-race high school student struggling with identity, friendships, and romantic yearning. After her parents' 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. Skim'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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Most arresting, visually, is Jillian Tamaki's choice to give Kim the face of a traditional Japanese beauty.
NYC Reader
I also liked how it showed how sometimes friends can drift apart, and new, unexpected friendships can be made in their place.
Anyechka
Adults who appreciate a good story, good graphics, and teenage angst (non-melodramatic) can appreciate this graphic novel.
Midwest

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By NYC Reader on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
SKIM is gorgeous. Canadian cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki are to be praised for such smart, sensitive, sophisticated treatment of unyielding material. Coaxing a suspenseful, surprising, hopeful narrative out of the anti-narrative horror of high school is no easy feat, but coaxing one out that remains true to the recursive slowness of the experience, the smothering isolation of it-- AND leaves you cheering for the heroine in the end-- is all the more impressive.

The Tamakis explore the complex experience of their heroine, Kim Keiko Cameron, by tapping the full potential of graphic novels to offer the reader multiple channels through which to take in information. The verbal line of the novel, with two magnificent exceptions, is the reader's primary guide through the lesbian strand of Kim's experience, while the visual line, with one heartbreaking flashback, is the primary medium through which Kim's Japanese-Canadian heritage is given witness: her mother breaking noodles, her father's thing for Asian women.

Most arresting, visually, is Jillian Tamaki's choice to give Kim the face of a traditional Japanese beauty. Short eyebrow-smudges high on the forehead and long loose hair, along with a small mouth, very rounded cheeks, and a low-placed nose are all markers used to indicate Heian-era female beauty from Tosa's TALE OF GENJI illustrations to Noh Ko-omote masks to traditional Otafuku and Benten imagery. What's canny, and oh-so-true to the tenth grade experience, is that Tamaki takes this marked-as-beautiful face and places it in a context-- an almost entirely white Canadian girls' private high school-- that completely invalidates its beauty.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Sorel VINE VOICE on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Skim is a graphic novel that centers around the main character whose nickname is Skim. Skim is an overweight, Japanese-Canadian, gothic, Wiccan, and high school social outcast. However, none of these descriptions are actually truthgul. As the reader becomes familiar with Skim, he/she soon discovers that she is just another misunderstood high school student who is trying to find her niche will still retaining some of her identity. The plot begins to roll when the boyfriend of the most popular girl at school commits suicide and the other popular girls decide to create various vigils and clubs in honor of this boy that none of them actually knew. Skim sees through the popular girls' false sorrow and realizes that this boy's death is just an excuse for the popular girls to alienate others and draw attention to themselves. However, this death eventually created tension and forever changes Skim's relationship with her best friend. In hopes of finding help and guidance, Skim reaches out to her English teacher with whom she falls in love. Instead of finding solace in this relationship, she only becomes more confused about herself. Companionship and understanding comes in the most surprising of places: the girlfriend of the boy who committed suicide. Skim notices that the girl is actually suffering and yet her popular friends are doing nothing to come to her aid. An unspoken kinship is fostered between the two girls as they both struggle with trying to fit into their own skin.

The art in this graphic novel is exceptional. The detail is incredibly intricate and should be examined with as much interest as the text. Many of the drawings are not contained in boxes as other graphic novels and comics have used. Instead, pictures flow over the pages and blend into one another.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Benstarbuck on October 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
this book is so good at what it sets out to say and show that i hesitate to describe it for fear of underselling it's attributes . the editorial reviews found above as well as some of the excellent customer reviews here might prompt you to aquire this outstanding "graphic novel" . that's the goal . for mature teens and adults .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By datura2002 VINE VOICE on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This graphic novel was praised almost universally in reviews, and but has still remained somewhat under the radar of the public.

Both the story and the drawing style are unusual and lovely. It's a story is set in the emotional world of a young schoolgirl. Like many bildungsromans, it is full of yearning and searching, but instead of being angsty or funny, it is poetic and kaleidoscopic, a snowglobe-like window into her changing world. I haven't seen anything else quite like it, and I've read a lot of graphic novels and comics.

Fans of Persepolis, Fun Home, or Maus would particularly appreciate it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Bialik on March 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one graphic novel that I can spend a long time reading. I keep coming back to it, not only to enjoy the artwork, but also to enjoy Skim's company. This story is very truthful, and unique in that it touches on what it means to be young, without being a cliched story about growing up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Millner on May 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fantastic, fantastic graphic novel. Modern Catcher in the Rye if Holden Caulfield were a Goth lesbian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Geng Wang on January 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am both into the illustration as well as the story (admittedly probably more into the former). Jillian Tamaki is a great illustrator and this work shows her well versed skills in brush/ink and how to combine the cinematography/composition with the storytelling. As for the story, it's about high school teenage girls and maybe not 100% targets me as the right audience but the humour and wit makes me smile from time to time while reading. I was hoping there was little bit more into the last half of the story.
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