I grabbed this at random while I was browsing graphic novels at the local library. I have a nostalgic fondness for teen coming-of-age graphic novels, though none of the published ones I've read (Blankets
, Black Hole
) are as good as a handful of web comics.
Anyway, I am totally not the target audience for this book, or else I am just too old. For one thing, the characters are all teenage girls at an all-girls' high school. It's also set in the early 90s, so not only do I not relate to them now, I don't relate to them as being like myself when I was that age, since they are from a slightly later generation.
The main character, Kim ("Skim") is a biracial girl whose parents are separated. She's a goth and into wicca and tarot cards and she and her best friend are both somewhat outsiders at school and they totally think they are the only ones who really understand how stupid everyone else is and she's a little depressed and confused and her life sucks and don't you just feel so, so sorry for her? Yeah, even Skim would say she doesn't particularly deserve sympathy.
Anyway, somewhere in here is a story of a student-teacher crush which maybe makes Skim a lesbian and maybe not, and there are poignant episodes with Skim's best friend drifting away to become a typical boy-crazy teen who's totally in LOOOVE with her boyfriend, and meanwhile the bitter angry girl who jumped off a roof after her boyfriend dumped her just before committing suicide becomes her new friend. The turbulent, dynamic relationships of teenagers, their unfinished thoughts which seem so profound and important to them, and the general misery of being a high school student, is portrayed here with a deft touch.
Ultimately, though, it's a plot that doesn't really go anywhere, just as most teenagers don't have a "plot" for their high school career. Shit happens and you get through it and then someday you'll be an adult who writes condescending book reviews about fiction for teenagers that you just don't get.
So, I'm sure there are probably lots of teens who find Skim
speaks for them, but it's basically kind of dull with expressive but not very impressive art. A good thing to have on library shelves, but not for me.