Skim

Mariko Tamaki, Author, Jillian Tamaki, Illustrator
Mariko Tamaki, Author, Jillian Tamaki, Illustrator Groundwood Books $18.95 (140p) ISBN 978-0-88899-753-1
Paperback - 141 pages - 978-0-88899-964-1
Paperback - 141 pages - 978-1-4063-2136-4
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This auspicious graphic novel debut by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki tells the story of \x93Skim,\x94 aka Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a goth girl in an all-girls school in Toronto, circa the early '90s. Skim is an articulate, angsty teenager, the classic outsider yearning for some form of acceptance. She begins a fanciful romance with her English teacher, Ms. Archer, while nursing her best friend through a period of mourning. The particulars of the story may not be its strong suit, though. It's Jillian's artwork that sets it apart from the coming-of-age pack. Jillian has a swooping, gorgeous pen line\x97expressive, vibrant and precise all at once. Her renderings of Skim and her friends, Skim alone or just the teenage environment in which the story is steeped are evocative and wondrous. Like Craig Thompson's Blankets, the inky art lifts the story into a more poetic, elegiac realm. It complements Mariko's fine ear for dialogue and the incidentals and events of adolescent life. Skim is an unusually strong graphic novel\x97rich in visuals and observations, and rewarding of repeated readings. (Feb.)
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