Okorafor constructs a very thought provoking story about identity and insider-vs-outsider without being preachy. There are many different kinds of identity in the book: magical leopard vs non-magical lamb, albino vs "normal", african vs. african-american, Ibo vs. Yoruba. It would be easy to take the albino girl as a metaphor about race, and I think that's true, but it's more subtle and rich than that.
The description of the food made me hungry, and overall the setting of modern Nigeria felt very real. Not without its problems, but a place that one could identify as home with real affection.
The characters also felt real in the sense that they were not just board markers for the fantasy plot but had internal lives.