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September 5, 2011

Review: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice,until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.
I haven't been a middle-grade novel reader for a few years now, but when I heard about Liesl & Po, I was immediately intrigued. Many YA readers know Lauren Oliver for Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy. While I have yet to read any of those books, I wanted to see what a YA author could do with a MG story. To the absolute delight of the little kid in me, she did not disappoint one bit.

After the death of her father, Liesl is left under the care of her stepmother--basically an evil woman who married Liesl's dad for his money. When Liesl meets Po, a ghost of unknown gender, and Bundle, Po's pet of unknown species, she is finally not so alone anymore. Together, they find a way to get Liesl out of the attic where she was forced to stay. At the same time, an alchemist's young apprentice, Will, is running away after making a mistake that will cost him his position. Liesl, Po, and Bundle end up crossing paths with Will, and from there the real adventure begins.

Liesl and the rest of the gang are such adorable characters. They've all got such vivid imaginations, and what they lack in age, they make up for in spirit. Since it is a MG novel, I think it's only fair that I rate it as I would have if I had been quite a bit younger. If I had read this book back in late elementary school, I know I would've absolutely loved it. Of course, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it anyway, but it was definitely much more juvenile than anything I've read recently. While there is obviously no romance, I really did like the magic and fantasy aspects. The characters' backstories were tied together nicely, and I thought the story was very well-written.

Liesl & Po is a fascinating tale that is suitable for just about any age. The cover is stunning, and when you find out what Lauren Oliver's inspiration for the story was, it just becomes all the more impossible to not fall in love with this book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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