Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 336 pages
August 28, 2012, Harper Collins

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.

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

Liesl reminded me a bit of Cinderella sans being enslaved. She was treated badly, deceived and manipulated by her stepmother. She was locked in the attic and kept away from the truth. Liesl was a curious girl. Her voice, despite its childlike quality and naivety, had its own sense of maturity.

Po and Bundle were Liesl’s ghostly friends. Po, having been dead for so long, has forgotten to be human but the more time he spent with Liesl, the more he became re-humanized. In a way, he was breathing life back into his being by caring and remembering. Bundle was the pet I never had. It says ‘mwark.’ It’s a hybrid, neither dog nor cat but both. It just was Bundle. I liked the simplicity of it. Just being, just existing. No pressure brought about by rules and norms. Oliver’s twist on the afterlife was unique. Things and people fade but at the same time become one with the universe. Ghosts went beyond norms and divisions and have become genderless, ageless and free to be whoever they want to be. I think the last part is the most beautiful of all.

I was entertained throughout the story. As I jumped from Will’s tragic life to Po’s world-traveling to Liesl’s journey to keep her dad’s ashes safe, I glimpsed upon a certain universal truth: all of the characters were sad in their own way. Will was the alchemist’s apprentice, constantly being ordered to do errands and barely getting any sleep from it all. He had a crush on Liesl and seeing her draw everyday was the only thing he looked forward to.

The plot was a balance of light, fun scenes, suspense goose chase and narrow escapes and musing, mournful realizations. Liesl’s journey was a journey that my heart and soul were anchored to. I didn’t simply read just for the sake of enjoyment. I needed to know how it will end. The musings about life, death and everything else in between were what I loved the most. They were profound, raw and true, as beautiful as the author’s writing style.

I liked how the characters represented humanity as a whole. There was a balance of good and bad characters. Lady Premiere and Sticky really embodied hunger for power and greed while Mo embodied all the sweetness and warmth in the world. The unearthly and mysterious vibe took over my reading experience. It had an air of possibility and surprises. Anything can happen in the magical story world that Oliver created.

Liesl and Po is bittersweet, deep, breathtaking and soulful. Once again, Oliver took my breath away with her flawless writing, but this time with a Middle Grade hit. Get your dose of magic, tragedy and adventure in Liesl and Po. I highly recommend this to everyone – it’s not just for MG readers and fantasy readers.


5 Cupids = Eternal book love. 
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!


  1. I have this book at home, still I haven't read it yet. But it sounds wonderful and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. Wow! I have to read this book. Sounds interesting.

  3. I've been curious about this book lately. I like Lauren Oliver's work so I might borrow this book soon. Sounds cool. Great review!

  4. I really want to read this one! great review -- thanks!

  5. Aren't those pictures just awesome? I really liked them. They added a certain feeling to the whole storyline. Liesl was a wonderful girl and I also liked how Po and Bundle were just 'there'. Great review :)

  6. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book as much as I did, Precious!

    - Ellie @ The Selkie Reads Stories

  7. I just listened to this audiobook with Jim Dale (who narrates the HP books) reading and it was charming and sad and lovely all at once! Loved it. I heard Oliver has another MG books coming out...I think it's called The Spindlers??
    Sarah's YA Blog