This sequel picks up where My Name Is Mina left off, but from the point of view of Mina's new neighbor, Michael. It's fascinating to consider Mina, a character I'd viewed with a lot of affection by the end of her book, from his perspective. Often Mina is capable of being a good friend, but she can also be touchy and erratic. I felt for Michael, a steadier sort, as he tried to figure her out. It's interesting that Almond chooses to add a supernatural/fantasy element to Michael's story. Mina's book seemed to take place in our world, but perhaps if My Name Is Mina had gone in that direction, the reader wouldn't have been able to trust that Mina was anchored in reality. Michael's calmer personality assures us that these supernatural events are happening in the reality of the book and not in his head. That being the case, I felt free to share Michael and Mina's wonder, and not worry about their mental health. I think most kids will find Michael more approachable than Mina, and should perhaps read this book first.
I see I haven't said anything about Michael's story! Almond handles it very well, creating a character who is caring and thoughtful, but at the same time, such a *boy*! Of course, many boys are thoughtful and caring, but I don't often see them handled as well as this.