If you’ve read my reviews this year, you’ll know that I’ve become a huge fan of Lauren Oliver due to her Delirium series. Well, I wanted to go back and read her earlier novels and decided to start with her first offering for children ages eight to twelve. I needed a change of pace and thought Liesl & Po would be perfect to shake things up.
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.
In the beginning, I found it difficult to grasp what was going on. The story isn’t told from one point of view, but multiple ones and there is a great deal of head jumping. The sudden changes threw me. However, it didn’t take long to find the rhythm and enjoy the story as it unfolded.
The plot was intriguing and the characters well developed. The lines between villains and heroes were well drawn; as they should be for a children’s novel. Oliver clearly defined the supernatural elements and though there was a bit of tension nothing could be considered too scary.
It’s a good book for kids and I’ll probably donate my copy to the local library.