Why did I love this book?
The main character is an introverted young boy whose family struggles in his impoverished neighborhood, and he meets an older girl who shares the existence of a local “hellmouth” that she tames using intuitive magic. This book echoes why I’m a diehard Buffy the Vampire Slayer (television show) fan—it takes reality and adds a vortex of supernatural to the already difficult experience of growing up. Gaiman masterfully tells an emotional story, amplifying the feelings of safety and anxiety young people experience as they navigate their need to belong, decipher life, and deal with the family they’re born into. Only 171 pages, it is beautifully plotted with deep, connective meanings, imaginative dilemmas made of the supernatural, and poignant self-discovery.