Contemporary, YA Fiction

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

This is actually a graphic novel that was assigned as a textbook for one of my courses. I didn’t think I would enjoy it, especially because I REALLY did not like some of the other assigned texts, but I was surprised to find it was quite good. I’m not much of a graphic novel reader (and according to my professor, manga DOES NOT count). In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read a “proper” comic book – unless we can count Archie’s comics! This was definitely an interesting experience for me and I am looking forward to exploring this style of writing/drawing more.

Kimberly Keiko Cameron AKA Skim is a non-skinny, Wiccan wanna-be goth in an all-girls school in Toronto. When a classmate’s boyfriend commits suicide, the school goes into mourning overdrive. As Skim observes these events and tries not to get caught up in the mess, she finds herself exploring her feelings for Ms.Archer, the new hippie art teacher who seems to see something special in Skim.

Why is this summary so short? It’s short because this graphic novel is so deep and rich in detail that I can’t really describe it to the fullest extent with my words. After reading this novel, I have a whole new appreciation for this format of writing; the illustrations convey so much more of the story than the words. When juxtaposed with Skim’s thoughts, they give a whole other meaning to the story and the struggle that Skim goes through in determining her identity. This really was a great novel and it gives such a great glimpse into the turbulent emotional state of 16-year olds who are still at odds with themselves. This was a great book and I hope you will all give it a try!

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