I never found myself really enraptured with the story. The main character, Mori, is very likeable and her position as a social outcast with an intense love of books is endearing. However, the presence of the fairies and magic was very, very lightly involved. It makes me wonder why it was even there in the first place.
Its references somewhat reminded me of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but in Among Others, it is much less intense. The majority of the books are science fiction classics, and if you don't have any experience with them, it would be hard to connect to the parts of the story which involve them.
I suppose this is magical realism, but there is barely any magic in the story. It is mentioned, but very haphazardly and disjointed. Kind of like, what's the point? I think it may have been better off ditching the magic and sticking to the bookworm teenager, but then, that's already been done before.
I would have liked the magic to be more prominent. I thought the conflict with the mother was detached in the background, even though it was the main conflict that should have been driving the plot. Mori never gets into a difficult situations. Due to this, I felt a bit bored at times, as the book dragged on about the normal side of her teenage life, without getting particularly intense.
For real magical realism, there are better authors who weave the fantasy and realism together more expertly. I got the feeling in Among Others the fantasy and reality were very separated.