“Skim” is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school. When Skim’s classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counselors 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…
Suicide, depression, love, being gay or not, crushes, cliques, and finding a way to be your own fully human self–are all explored in this brilliant collaboration by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.
Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Graphic novel
Published: 2009 by Walker Books
This graphic novel really brought out an air of nostalgia for me. I went to an all girls high school so I find it’s odd fun to read stories set in that familiar turbulent environment. (Even though this fictional high school is in Canada.)
Skim is one of those quiet books that I love. My favourite story arc was Skim and her best friend Lisa’s changing friendship. They realistically grew apart but when they reunite towards the end, it’s as two friends who get to know each other anew, and still be able to share a laugh.
I connected with Skim. The low key intensity of her inner world reminded me of high school. The disillusionment, the small sparks of hope and the recognition of change too. I loved the stark art style in the black and white. It fitted the mood of the graphic novel.
Skim deals with the loss of trust when it comes to crushes and friendship. I loved how honestly Skim’s voice speaks in her diary. Her first crush on another woman as it blossoms is beautifully drawn and told in it.
As for Lisa’s story; when ever grief and the questions that accompany death are touched upon in a story in a realistic way, I find a mirror into the past. Stories with lost heroines who carry an awareness of the movement that comes with change, strike a chord with me. They find that love does reshape a life, as does grief. Though I loved the simple ending to this story as the characters keep on moving. Questions are still there. Change is gradual. That seems true to life for me.