Review: Skim- Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki

2418888Title: Skim
 Mariko Tamaki
Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
Publication Date: 28 February 2008
ISBN: 0888997531
Pages: 143
Genre: Contemporary, Graphic Novel
Format: Paperback
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

“Skim” is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim would-be Wiccan goth who voted to a private girls’ school. When her 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. An edgy, keenly observed and poignant glimpse into the heartache of being young.


This book was disappointing to say the least. There isn’t much to say about this book. I felt like the characters were incredibly underdeveloped, especially Skim’s best friend Lisa Soor. Skim wasn’t a very complex character who I couldn’t relate to very well, she was the stereotypical, teenage angst-y, female character. For a high schooler, she was surprisingly shallow, lacking any form of depth,it wasn’t the realistic portrayal which is what I think the Tamaki sisters were attempting to create.

I also felt that the Tamaki sisters didn’t fully explore the depths of depression, they kept it a more surface level. I think it was mostly an extension of the underdeveloped nature of the characters Skim and Katie Matthews. I think the only way that they could have remedied this situation was by developing Skim more as a character and making a longer book.

However, it wasn’t entirely bad. I did really enjoy the illustrations themselves- it was clear that Jillian Tamaki had taken time to be incredibly detailed. In fact, when the book ended I had to take a moment to really appreciate the artistic quality. I also really enjoyed the relationship that Skim was exploring with a women in school, it was easily one of my favorite parts of the entire novel. I really looked forward to the parts of the book where their relationship was present.

The only person I’d recommend this to is someone who is already a fan of the Tamaki sisters’ work. Otherwise, I believe that there are better graphic novels (does anyone happen to have any recommendations?).


2.5 star


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