I loved the description of Mrs. Rimmells, with her bright floral dresses with pockets for tissues and her homemade doughnuts that she brings to school. Priscilla is also a good character-- entitled and sometimes bratty, but not completely beyond redemption. Mrs. Downey's desire to remain Janitor of the Year despite the cricket infestation is amusing as well.
Interestingly enough, Ms. Tomsic provides her own list of read-alikes for this title when the characters mention their own favorite books that they see displayed in Minerva's shop; Wendy Mass, Bruce Coville, Henry Lien, Philip Pullman, and Ingrid Law. The 12th Candle has a good dose of magical realism combined with middle grade drama that appeals to fans of those authors.