Three for Mid-November: Skim, Finnikin of the Rock, Faerie Lord

It’s the Return of Three-Sentence Reviews! As the holidays creep closer (and I indulge in more escapist binge-reading) I’m forced to limit my time writing reviews so I can get some, er, work done. So here are a few to start with. All three of these books were checked out from the Stanislaus County Library.

Skim, which was the Cybils YA graphic novel winner in 2008, finally appeared in my library at some point—set in Toronto, it’s the story of multiracial (I think) Wiccan Kimberly Keiko Cameron, aka Skim, who struggles with fitting in with her classmates and suffers in silence from a crush on her young, charismatic English teacher Ms. Archer. Her crush and her resulting depression cause her to drift apart from her best friend Lisa, and the rift between them only grows as Skim begins to make friends with Katie, a girl at school whose boyfriend committed suicide. This story is surprisingly complex and touching, Skim is an endearing character with a lot of depth and sweetness, and the artwork retains a loose and sketchy hand-drawn feel while also making a subtle nod to traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints—a hybrid blend just like Skim herself.

Buy Skim from an independent bookstore near you!

Finnikin of the Rock, the latest book by Melina Marchetta, will likely appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce for its fully realized world, its well-drawn cultures, its complex and thoughtful characters, and its strong women. Finnikin is the son of the Captain of the Guard of the country of Lumatere—a country that’s been cursed and essentially riven in two, with half of its people trapped inside with an impostor king, and the rest wandering exiled throughout the other countries of the continent. I was thoroughly absorbed by Finnikin’s story, which is really also the story of the mysterious young woman Evanjalin, who guides him on a harrowing journey to bring their people back to their homeland. Extra Bonus Fourth Sentence: I loved this book, and fans of Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road will recognize and revel in the feeling of mysteries unfolding and surprises revealed.

Buy Finnikin of the Rock from an independent bookstore near you!

Faerie Lord is the fourth book in Herbie Brennan’s Faerie Wars series, and is sure to be a satisfying conclusion for series enthusiasts. As with the other books, I enjoyed the humor and the quirky world that Brennan has created in which the Faerie Realm is really just a parallel world to our own, and Faeries an awful lot like humans—the technologies (and magic) may differ, but they don’t flit about on gauzy wings, and they suffer from political strife and power struggles just as the human world does. Henry’s fourth adventure brings him back to the Faerie World to help Queen Blue—whom he sadly jilted at the end of the last book, so there’s THAT awkwardness to contend with—address a rapidly-worsening plague of mysterious origin and no known cure.

Buy Faerie Lord from an independent bookstore near you!

About the author

Sarah Jamila Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor, graphic designer, proofreader, and localization QA tester, so she wears a teetering pile of hats. On any given day, she is very tired. She is the author of the middle grade graphic novel Alexis vs. Summer Vacation, and three YA novels, including the award-winning The Latte Rebellion.


  1. That is the perfect way to put it! I really didn't want it to end, either.

    Addendum to the post: I'm wrong about SKIM. It was actually a different GN by Mariko Tamaki, EMIKO SUPERSTAR, that was the Cybils winner in 2008.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.