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.
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.From School Library Journal:
Grade 10 Up–Kimberly Keiko Cameron–aka Skim–is a mixed-race high school student struggling with identity, friendships, and romantic yearning. After her parents' divorce, she turns to tarot cards and Wicca to make sense of life but finds herself disappointed with the lack of answers they provide. She finds herself increasingly intrigued by Ms. Archer, her free-spirited English teacher. Her interest becomes obsessive and it begins to drive a wedge between her and her best friend, Lisa. Although Skim originally makes light of the half-hearted suicide attempts of popular Katie, whose ex-boyfriend committed suicide, the two of them begin to open up to one another. Skim soon realizes that perfect Katie is far funnier, more genuine, and more traumatized than she originally thought–particularly when it comes to light that John shot himself due to his homosexuality. Drawn in an expressive, fluid style and with realistic dialogue, this work accurately depicts the confusion of teenage years, with its rejection of previous identity and past relationships and search for a newer and truer identity; additionally, insider/outsider status is a reoccurring theme. Skim's internal monologue is diarylike, with an interesting use of scratched-out words. This is a good but somewhat standard work.–Dave Inabnitt, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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