Liesl & Po

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3.5
 
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Liesl & Po
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
8+
Release Date
October 04, 2011
ISBN
978-0062014511
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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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Timeless Story of Love and Friendship
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0
Liesl spends her life locked away in an attic, mourning the death of her father. One day, a ghost named Po appears, asking Liesl to draw it a picture and passing along some words from her late father: “I should never have eaten the soup.” The pair escapes and set out on an adventure that would allow her father to rest in peace. Along the way they meet another orphan named Will who happens to be delivering the most powerful magic in the world for an evil alchemist. They join forces and spend their journey avoiding the various adults that are chasing them, using magic, friendship, and luck.

You know you are in for some sadness when the first sentence in a book is, “On the third night after the day her father died, Liesl saw the ghost.” Our heroes are mistreated orphans or ghosts, all but one adult is evil, and the sun has not come out in 1,728 days. Still, many of the best children’s books (The Graveyard Book, The Giving Tree, anything by Roald Dahl) mix darkness and light, and LIESL & PO is an example of how to share difficult subjects with a young audience. Liesl’s optimism, Po’s loyalty, and Will’s kind heart are the traits that everyone hopes to maintain in the face of loss. Author Lauren Oliver’s preface states that she wrote the novel in response to the death of her best friend. What was a lifeline for an author became a gift to the reader.

There is a timeless quality to LIESL & PO which brings to mind many of my favorite books from childhood. While some readers may dislike the familiarity of the characters and plot, I believe that those books are classics for a reason and one can never have enough beautifully written stories about friendship and love. With its vaguely Victorian setting and lack of details that place it in a particular time period, this is a novel with enduring appeal.

It was easy to predict the ending of the story, but I was happy to follow the twists and turns that Oliver takes to get us there. Her writing is beautiful, and the vivid descriptions would make this an excellent read aloud. The illustrations by Kei Acedera are dreamy and fit in with the magical atmosphere of the story. If I had any complaint, it would be that the evil characters did not receive harsh enough punishments, although that may be the vindictive adult in me.

While LIESL & PO is a standalone novel, I hope it is only the first of many middle grade novels by Lauren Oliver.

Read more of my reviews at www.bookchomper.blogspot.com.
Good Points
Lauren Oliver's writing style draws the reader into her world.
This book will appeal to readers of many ages.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0  (2)
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Liesl & Po (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
To simply give you an idea of how this book made me feel I’ll tell you this: I finished the story with a smile. Now, I’m a crier when it comes to books. It’s pretty easy to get me worked up, but I’m not ashamed, I love when books make me feel. However, it’s not very often that a book actually brings a smile to my lips, but Liesl & Po managed just that.

Liesl &Po is an amazing journey made even more amazing by Oliver’s personal reason behind the book. I shan’t delve too far into that though since it doesn’t actually have anything to do with my enjoyment of the book. This book contains an amazing journey full of magic and mix-ups and wonderful characters.
Leisl & Po managed that awesome Middle Grade adventure experience while making sure you didn’t feel like you were being tossed around from one plot point to another. It was all quite seamless and spectacular.

I adored every single character, even the horrible ones (I liked hating them, that is). Leisl was strong and brave considering her situation and her life. I could almost feel her warmth and hope coming out of the pages. I loved Mo and how determined he was to enjoy his life and go nice things for others though nearly everyone was mean to him. For someone who doesn’t know whether it is a boy or a girl, Po has a lot of personality and though it was grumpy at times, it was pure goodness at its core.

I love that the story follows so many little plotlines that all meet up in the end to create a nice little package that all makes.

The Nutshell: Liesl & Po is an absolutely fantastic read. The characters are all outstanding and the journey is one you’ll both feel is for the characters as well as yourself. Oliver creates a fantastic world full of characters and plots that all seem a little jumbled at first but end up becoming clear at just the perfect moments. This is one you certainly won’t want to miss. I know I’ve said it before, but if you’re afraid of MG, try this. I mean, it’s written by the genius behind Delirium so you could at least give it a go, right? Oh, did I forget to mention that there are illustrations? Because there are ;]
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Wonderfully Magical!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Liesl and Po took me a little while to get into, but once I did I couldn't put it down. This book just has that magical feel to it. You know when you smell a certain smell how it takes you right back to a certain place or situation? This book was similar to that...it brought me back to my childhood sitting in my top bunk, reading well into the night.

The tone of the narrator is perfect! There is a hint of mischief to the tone that adds depth to the story. The characters are so easy to love, or in a few cases hate! Liesl is the perfect heroine! She has received the short stick in life, but she doesn't whine about it. Will doesn't have it much better than Liesl, but he manages to make the best of it. Po and Bundle add such a playful supernatural element to the story, and Liesl could have never made it with out them! Mo, however, was my favorite character. He is a simple man with a huge heart! On the other hand, the villains are so fun to hate! You of course have the evil stepmother, the power hungry alchemist, and the greedy and powerful "Lady Premiere". Lauren Oliver rolls together a fantastic puzzle of mistakes, consequences, coincidences, and magic. The illustrations are fantastic, and definitely add to the story! This is a magical story about love, friendship, and kindness that young and old can enjoy together. This story would make a great read aloud for younger children!
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