Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

Skim (Graphic Novel)

“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

Source: Bookshelf


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.

9 thoughts on “Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

  1. This book sounds nostalgic and beautiful, I’ll have to look into it! Glad to hear you could connect with the characters and that a book managed to capture grief and loss so succinctly. Beautifully written review 🙂


    1. Thank you Aentee! <3. It is a beautiful book. I often find illustrated books like A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Skim (and manga too) can really dig deep into those themes in a relatable way.


  2. I actually re-borrowed this recently and read through it the other day. I loved it for the same reasons that you did. It was so hard to read, because it shows how easily lost you can be, and I think I would have been equally lost at that age, but reading it from where I am now, I could see where and how Skim could have chosen alternative routes. It was such a tender and sincere read though.


    1. I’m definitely in the mood to re-read it too. I agree, it’s such a strange experience to read about cross-road snapshots in time – from a slight distance but I loved the realism of it too.


  3. On my tbr I have “This one Summer”, which is another collaboration between these two and I’ve heard it’s beautiful, visually, but not fantastic otherwise? But the visual aspect is enough for me to want to check it out. It looks beautiful and so interesting, their use of colours. This one sounds pretty interesting, too, and I’ll definitely be looking into it more, to get an idea of whether I’d read it or not. I think I will, it sounds like a really emotional, interesting book, and I love the graphic novel aspect to it all.
    Lovely review, Glaiza! I wonder if this is one I’ll get to hear you talk about more soon! (: xx


    1. My friend loves This one Summer. Hopefully, I’ll find a copy in the future. Skim is one of those quietly compelling/awesome slice of life books, so worth checking out.


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