Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Release date: October 4, 2011
Format: ARC paperback, 307
Purchase: Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads:
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 am absolutely blown away by this book. This is one of the most magical books I’ve read, the kind of book you search for among the vast amount of ordinary books. Truly a gem. There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about this book.
The cast of characters in this book is like no other. We have Liesl, who is so strong despite suffering the loss of her dad; Po and Bundle, the ghosts who don’t quite know what they used to be, but like Liesl’s drawings and so are drawn to the living world. Liesl’s evil stepmother, wow she’s absolutely evil. Will, who watches a girl in a window from the street everynight, and his master the Alchemist, a grouchy old man who answers to the Lady Premiere, who is not what she seems. Their strands of the story are all woven together magically. And I absolutely loved that the story is told from every viewpoint, so you know exactly what any character is thinking at any given time, and know the motivations behind their actions.
This book makes you feel as well. The grief Liesl feels, but also the excitement at escaping the attic and beginning the journey to give her father rest. Near the end when everything’s coming to a head you definitely feel the tension, and I for one had trouble putting it down at this point, needing to see what happened next. And the interior art, while not finalized in the ARC, was beautiful. They were mostly rough sketches, but honestly, I loved them. They definitely added to the atmosphere of the story, and I’d almost prefer and hope that the final versions look almost exactly like what is in the ARC.
All in all, this is a Lauren Oliver book you do not want to miss. Even if you’re not a fan of fantasy, I would still recommend this. I’m definitely hoping that she writes more middle-grade books in the future, because of all three of Lauren’s books, this is definitely my favorite. I will be buying a finished copy to reread and cherish for years to come.