Synopses & Reviews
The time is the early 1990s, the setting a girls' academy in Toronto. Enter "Skim," aka Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth. When her classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. It's a weird time to fall in love, but Skim does just that after secret meetings with her neo-hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. When Ms. Archer abruptly leaves the school, Skim has to cope with her confusion and isolation, as her best friend, Lisa, tries to pull her into "real" life by setting up a hilarious double date for the school's semi-formal. Skim finds an unexpected ally in Katie. Suicide, depression, love, being gay or not, crushes, cliques of popular, manipulative peers the whole gamut of tortured teen life is explored in this masterful graphic novel by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Skim offers a startlingly clear and painful view into adolescence for those of us who possess it only as a distant memory." New York Times
"Tough topics are covered....[An] excellent book for students who lead troubled lives." Children's Literature
"The b/w art is fluid and curvy and looks like it came straight out of a sketchbook. The little details are wonderful." KLIATT
"Long, languid lines portray Skim's turmoil and angst with pitch-perfect resonance and show how, for teens, time seems to be so drawn out. While Tamaki's faces are sometimes unsettling, the reader has the distinct impression that they should be uncomfortable." Kirkus ReviewS
"With honesty and compassion, this innovative narrative communicates a life just beginning, open and full of possibility." Horn Book Magazine
About the Author
Mariko Tamaki is a Toronto-based writer, performer and playwight. She is a columnist for Kiss Machine and the author of Cover Me, True Lies: A Book of Bad Advice and Fake ID
Jillian Tamaki grew up in Alberta and currently lives and works in New York, where her clients include the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, the Walrus, Macleans and the Village Voice. She has received a number of awards for her editorial illustrations, including a National Magazine Award, and her work has appeared in the American Illustration and Communication Arts annuals. Her first book, Gilded Lilies, was nominated for a Doug Wright Award in the Best Book category.