Title: Liesl & Po
Author: Lauren Oliver
Reading level: Middle Grade
Size: 307 pages
Release Date: October 4th 2011
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | BN | The Book Depository
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.
“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.”
“And this, really, is the story-within-the-story, because if you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the world will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light.
But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.”
Liesl & Po is an amazingly masterful piece of fiction. A fairytale that will apeal as much to adults as the children for whom it is marketed. It doesn’t pull any punches despite being targeted at a young audience. It starts off grim and bleak and blossoms into a magical and heartfelt tale.
The characters of Liesl, Will & Po are well developed and leap off the page…they each manage to burrow deep within the reader’s heart much as Bundle burrows within Po. And I dare anyone to dispute the beauty and quality of Lauren Oliver’s writing and wordplay. The imagery is fantastic and fantastical…painting an intricate picture for the reader while still leaving enough open to each individual’s imagination. The plot is inventive, full of twists and turns, and wonderfully paced.
Oliver manages to work in a bunch of pretty serious issues (death, child abuse, environmental issues, etc. ) and deals with all of those quite handily within the parameters of the larger story. At the conclusion one is left with hope and confidence..in one’s self, one’s friends, and the world at large. And that is the true magic.
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