Review: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl & Po

Lauren Oliver

Publish Date October 4, 2011
ARC from Once Upon a Twilight Tours

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. –Goodreads

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver is a wonderfully written middle grade novel. I’m always looking for books to add to my school library and this is definitely one that makes the list. With intriguing characters, adventure, and a wonderful storyline, Liesl and Po is definitely a book my students will love (and adults too!).

When we meet Liesl, she is locked in an attic by her stepmother and mourning the death of her father who died the day before. When Po shows up, a ghost from the otherworld, Liesl welcomes the company – even if it is a ghost – and they become friends. Through a series of crazy events, Liesl and Po escape the attic and head towards her old house in the country to spread her father’s ashes. Along the way they meet Will, a orphan who worked for an evil alchemist and is trying to escape his wrath, and who also would watch Liesl from the street through her attic window.

The plot in this book is so twisty and complicated that it will leave a younger reader guessing to the very end about what is going to happen. I figured out most of the mysteries before they were resolved but for a middle grade reader it will definitely keep them entertained and guessing. I really enjoyed how Oliver had all the paths cross in one way or another. The links between the characters were interesting and fun to watch play out. I also enjoyed how the box of magic kept switching hands and kept you guessing how it was going to make its way back to the rightful place.

As for the main characters, the reader will fall in love with all of them. I just wanted to scoop Liesl and Will up and take them home with me. They are two children that just needs someone to love and care for them. To have such rough lives, they are not bitter or hard. Liesl is so caring and compassionate in this book. I just really loved her character. And Will was just as well written. Ah! I just really loved them.

I try to read as much middle grade as I can so I can decide what is good and what is not for my library. This is definitely a book that I would buy for my students and push for them to read. I am even considering making it a book club book. This is a middle grade book at it’s best.

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