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Friday, September 25, 2015

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver Review *Light Spoilers*

5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published by HarperCollins,
an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Synopsis: 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.

Ever since her beloved father died, Liesl has been locked up in her tiny attic bedroom. One day, a ghost named Po (and his pet, Bundle) appears in the shadowed corners of her room. Po introduces Liesl to the Other Side, where her father’s ghost is carrying out his days after death. The message she receives convinces her that her father will only be at peace once she brings his ashes to the house she grew up in. But when the alchemist’s apprentice, Will, mixes up a box containing the world’s most powerful magic with a jewelry box full of ashes, it has serious consequences for everyone around him. His mistake brings him together with Liesl and Po as the three of them go on an unexpected adventure.

I loved Liesl and Po, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. The illustrations are beautiful, and each of the characters is fascinating and unique. From the second I started reading, I could barely put this book down. Just like in each of her other novels, Lauren Oliver’s writing style is lovely and whimsical. Even though the plot is slightly foreseeable from the beginning of the story, it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book. Most importantly, despite Liesl and Po being a middle grade book, it is a fast and easy read that both children and adults would enjoy.


1) The artwork is beautiful. The illustrations compliment the exquisite writing style, and add a nice touch to the story.

2) All of the characters are brave, inspiring, and made me feel connected to them and invested in their story. From the very first page, I was rooting for them and felt emotionally attached to their well-being.

3) Even though this is a middle grade book rather than a young adult, it doesn't feel childish or immature. Lauren Oliver’s writing style is just as impressive and marvelous as always. 

4) Even though the POV's switched repeatedly between Po, Liesl, Will, and even occasionally Bundle, I did not find it to be confusing, nor did it detract from the storyline. In fact, I was happy to find that all of the perspectives actually added to the story—as well as my understanding of it—which is a rare thing to find and a difficult task to accomplish. Lauren Oliver, I commend you. 


1) I wish that there was not such a distinct line between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. There were certain moments in the book where I found myself wanting more of an explanation for certain characters' actions.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) “She liked the word ineffable because it meant a feeling so big or vast that it could not be expressed in words.

And yet, because it could not be expressed in words, people had invented a word to express it, and that made Liesl feel hopeful, somehow.”

2) “People could push and pull at you, and poke you, and probe as deep as they could go. They could even tear you apart, bit by bit. But at the heart and root and soul of you, something would remain untouched.”

3) “Perhaps this was how the sparrows did it too; perhaps they were looking so hard at the peaks and tips of the new rooftops coated with dew, and the vast new horizon, that they only forgot that they did not know how to fly until they were already in midair.” 

4) “He had never once been frightened of a living one before. They were too fragile, too easily broken and dismantled: They had bones that broke and skin that tore and hearts that gave up with a sigh and rolled over.”