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. – Goodreads
There are two things I know with absolute certainty about Lauren Oliver’s books:
1) I will read anything she writes.
2) She will always make me cry.
I don’t read much middle grade, but this book, along with A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, has definitely changed things up on my reading palate.
Liesl & Po was an enchanting and timeless story. Following the death of her father, Liesl has been locked away in the attic of her home by her stepmother. One day two ghosts named Po and Bundle appear and they offer company to her lonely existence. Soon after, a mix up involving an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, and two boxes, sets off a chain of events that brings them all together in an unforgettable adventure.
On the surface, the story is straightforward in the way that it has the essential evil characters and there are no real surprising twists along the way. However, the book also handles emotion in a palpable way: grief, loss, love, friendship and, ultimately, healing. It’s all very subtle, but there’s depth and so much hope to be found in these words and characters.
My favorite character of the story was, without a doubt, Po. Po, neither a he nor a she, along with Bundle, neither a dog nor a cat, was Liesl’s primary companion on her journey. Po’s character definitely had moments full of sarcasm — especially when Will came into the picture — but kindness and compassion peeked through as well. Liesl and Po’s friendship grew so beautifully and made my heart swell. And, yes, they did make me cry, too.
I have loved and adored each of Oliver’s three published books. Though they’re all very different from the last, each is filled with her gorgeous prose and wonderfully layered characters. Prior to picking up Liesl & Po I already considered myself a big fan, but now I’m finding myself even more eager to see what she does next. I know it will be amazing.
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