I fell for Lauren Oliver after reading her dystopia novel, Delirium. After reading that book, she instantly became one of my favorite authors of all time. And so when I discovered she’s writing a middle-grade fantasy novel, I was beyond thrilled!
First of all, I like reading (selective) middle-grade novels. I love to read such books simply because they make me feel young and magical, and that’s exactly how I felt when I was reading Liesl & Po.
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Published date: October 14, 2011
Published by HarperCollins
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 had an amazing time reading Liesl & Po. I found the characters absolutely charming and entertaining throughout the story. I thought Liesl was very interesting. She personified every kid we know in that she’s very curious and brave, but at the same time her vulnerability showed that she’s still a young, innocent girl. I also find Will’s loyalty towards Liesl to be quite charming as well as his special feelings toward her. It was so cute! And then, there’s Po, the ghost. To be honest, he’s not exactly like Casper the Friendly Ghost, but that’s not to say he’s mean toward Liesl. He’s basically unsure how to be around human beings because he’s been gone for so long. He doesn’t know how to connect with people anymore. I really enjoyed seeing his hesitant character transitioned to someone more affable throughout the story. And I may have shed a tiny bit of tear towards the end.
As a cover lover, I’d like to take note of the book cover. I honestly loved it! Perhaps one of my favorite covers! It certainly fit the concept of the story, if anything it’ll give the readers hints on what’s coming for them once they started the book. Plus, it’s very eye-catching! I think kids (and kids at heart, like me) will definitely take notice of this once they enter their favorite bookstores. The illustrations inside are also wonderful!
However, I couldn’t help but take note as well a certain aspect of the book wherein I found myself creasing my brows from confusion. This is written on third person point of view, omniscient point of view to be specific. I have to admit that I wasn’t really used to that kind of writing and so every time the point of view skip from Liesl to Will, or from Po to Liesl—I get little episodes of disorientation. It took me some time to get used to the changing of point of views.
But the overall take of this story was completely astonishing. I think Lauren Oliver captured that whimsical feeling we’d have when we were kids and we were creating our own special, magical world inside our heads. Furthermore, the emotions which Lauren Oliver conveyed throughout the book were very solid and I couldn’t help but feel emotionally connected with the characters. I definitely recommend this to everyone!