Genres: Children’s fiction, fantasy, paranormal – ghosts.
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.
Spoiler note: This review does not contain spoilers.
I met Lauren Oliver back in February 2011 and I thought she was lovely and so American (I hadn’t met many Americans before!). All three of her novels: Before I Fall, Delirium, and Liesl & Po are very different from each other but are equally as good. She has a talent for writing realistic fiction, dystopian fiction and now children’s fiction.
Liesl & Po is a story about a young girl’s bereavement and how a ghost and a lonely alchemist’s apprentice help her fulfil her father’s wish: his ashes are to be settled under the willow tree, next to his wife’s grave. Our protagonists face many challenges and come across quirky characters; some loathsome, some affable. I thought the characterisation was of a similar style to Lemony Snicket; it’s a style that really stands out and makes it clear that this a children’s book and not a young adult book. It is also wonderfully written and has many quotable sentences.
I think one of the reasons why I liked it so much is because at the beginning of the book, Lauren Oliver talks about her inspiration behind the novel. She wrote Liesl & Po in 2 months in order to make sense of the sudden death of her best friend. Knowing that each sentence has personal significance for Lauren made it much more meaningful.
I am also a sucker for illustrations in books (e.g. A Monster Calls). I really love them if they’re done as well as they are in this book. I thought the sketches in the review copy of Liesl & Po were impressive, but the final versions are even more so. They’re beautifully drawn by Kei Acedera and they fit perfectly with the storyline.
Overall, I really enjoyed Liesl & Po. I think it’s a very well written children’s book that I can see being treasured by many.
Liesl & Po will be released 29th September in the UK and 4th October in the US.
Thank you Hodder for sending me this book to review!
My Rating: ★★★★