It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Lauren Oliver. I loved Before I Fall, Delirium, and Pandemonium. When I first heard that she was coming out with a novel for younger readers, I knew it would be as awesome as her young adult novels. Well, I finished reading Liesl & Po this morning (I started it last night.), and it was even better than I thought it would be. I’m going to give it the highest praise I can think of: It reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. (I love Neil Gaiman…a lot.) This book is sure to be a hit with elementary readers up through adults. Anyone who enjoys stories filled with magic, sadness, and, most importantly, hope, will find Liesl & Po to be as enchanting as I did.
All sunshine has gone out of the world. Life is dull and gray for everyone, especially two children, Liesl and Will, who want nothing more than the hope that things will get better…
Liesl spends her days and nights trapped in an attic by her vile stepmother. Her father passed away three days ago, and Liesl feels more alone than ever before. That’s about to change, though. When a ghost named Po–and his ghost pet Bundle–begin to visit Liesl from the Other Side, she doesn’t feel quite so alone. She even begins to hope that her life can change a little and that she can even find some way to reconnect with her father.
Will is an apprentice to an alchemist. He spends his days doing errands, assisting with potions, and never getting anything right. (He’s beginning to think his name is really “Useless.”) The only bright spot in Will’s life is looking at the girl in the attic window and wondering what it would be like if they were to ever meet. As fate would have it, he is about to find out…
When Will mistakenly switches a box full of powerful magic with the box that contains Liesl’s father’s ashes, forces collide that take Liesl, Po, Bundle, and Will on a path that will lead them to each other. They will fight against evil, cruelty, loss, sadness, and some misunderstandings to get to something better than what they’ve known. In the process, they will discover friendships that cross the boundary of death. They may even find a way to make the world a brighter place for everyone. After all, when magic and hope are involved, anything is possible.
I urge any and all librarians who work with children and young adults to add Liesl & Po book to your collections. For those of you who aren’t librarians, add this book to your reading list. It’s a wonderful book about overcoming loss and sadness and restoring color to a dull, gray existence. Even in the darkest times, there is a sense of hope in this book and its characters that I think we could all use a dose of. Read this book! You won’t be sorry.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this awesome book trailer for Liesl & Po (from HarperKids):
For more information on Lauren Oliver and all of her amazing books, visit http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter @OliverBooks.