October 23, 2011

Book Review: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl & Po

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harper Collins October 4th 2011
Hardcover 304 Pages
Reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher

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.
I'm not sure how I'll write a review that will do this book justice. It's also hard to write my thoughts on it knowing how personal this book was to to the author.

    I connected to the characters immediately. Liesl was lovely. Positive, considering all the trauma she had recently been through. Forced to live in an attic alone after the passing of her father. Locked up by her stepmother, she has only her memories to keep her company. Until Po and Bundle  appear in her room one night, it's the memories of her father keep her going, his love and belief in her. Po is from "the other side" and Lisel hopes this means that he might be able to contact her father, that she might be able to say the things to him, she never got to say.
Contrast that with Will. An apprentice to an abusive magician, like Liesl he's alone in the world. They never would have crossed paths if it weren't for the wooden boxes. One containing the "most powerful magic in the world" the other carrying the ashes of Lisel's father.The adventure that ensues is one of friendship, sacrifice and love.

  Lisel and Po feels like a classic. It feels older than it is and I was reminded of the feelings I had reading books like The Little Princess, and the Secret Garden by Frances Burnett. The feeling that you know you are reading something timeless, and special. One thing that really stood out for me were certain words that were repeated in the book...the  word ineffable -which means "to incredible to describe" this is a word that Lisel grew up hearing while sharing moments with her father.  Will grew up hearing the word "useless" and it takes helping Lisel for him to realize his true worth.

    Lauren is a wonderful storyteller, gifted with ability to weave such beautiful words together. The illustrations and cover fit the tone and mood of the story.There is a lot of emotion between the lines of the story and I'm so grateful that Lauren shared it with us. Lisel and Po has appeal for girls and boys and would be a great choice for a read-aloud in a middle grade class or to share at home. Highly recommended.


  1. I can't wait to pick this one up!

  2. I originally wanted to pick this book up because I love Lauren Oliver. The more I hear about it though the more I want to read it because it sounds amazing!

    It reminded you of reading the Little Princess and the Secret Garden! I love those books. They bring back such happy memories of my childhood, getting lost in a book. I would love to read more books that have their same kind of magical pull.