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Liesl & Po

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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.

313 pages, Hardcover

First published October 4, 2011

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About the author

Lauren Oliver

76 books119k followers
Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of media and content development company Glasstown Entertainment, where she serves as the president of production. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren's bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by AwesomenessTV; Before I Fall is now a major motion picture and opened in theaters March of 2017. The sequel to Replica, titled Ringer, is her most recent novel and was released October 3rd, 2017.

Her novels for middle grade readers include The Spindlers, Liesl & Po, and the Curiosity House series, co-written with H. C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms.

A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver divides her time between New York, Connecticut, and a variety of airport lounges. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,792 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,576 reviews33.9k followers
October 4, 2011
Every once in awhile, a children's book comes along that whisks you away to another world--and if you're very lucky, at the end of the story, it's one that also illuminates your own. Liesl & Po extends a delightful invitation to wizardry and adventure, but it’s also a gentle and poignant rumination on love and loss.

Liesl has been locked away in her stepmother’s attic for a very long time, ever since her beloved father got sick. One night, a pensive ghost named Po appears in her room and lifts the veil between the everyday world and the one Beyond. What follows is a wonderful journey overflowing with heart and hope and humor.

I was thoroughly charmed by Liesl, whose plucky courage and ingenuity are matched by the thoughtful, drifting Po and the hopelessly smitten Will, a young alchemist’s apprentice who accidentally sets off a troublesome chain of events when he misplaces a box full of magic. The trio is joined by an unforgettably madcap cast of characters, each with their own identities and worries and dreams, and the author deftly weaves all their interconnected threads together into a story that feels fresh and funny and thoroughly original.

Not at all as mannered or as self-conscious as Breadcrumbs, which ultimately showed its seams perhaps a little too much, this fairy tale adventure is tripping with charm and written with exceptional intelligence and sensitivity. The author’s note indicates that the book was written in just two months following the sudden death of her best friend, and the extraordinary love behind that inspiration hovers wistfully over every page.


...he had imagined it perfectly: how he would come around the corner and see that tiny square of light so many stories above him, and see her face floating there like a single star.


He might have begun to blur, letting the infinity tug on him gently from all sides, like sand being pulled by an eternal tide. He might have already begun the process of becoming a part of Everything. He would begin to feel the electricity from distant stars pulsing through him like a heartbeat. He would feel the weight of old planets on his shoulders, and he would feel the winds of distant corners of the universe blowing through him.

My heart swells with ineffable love for this book, which has instantly found its place beside classics such as Peter Pan and The Secret Garden--and yes, it really is that good. Between the dizzying adventures and the sly cleverness of the writing and the quiet emotion, Liesl & Po reminded me especially of Mary Poppins in a huge way—particularly in the moments when you catch a fleeting glimpse of something bigger than your own story and your own self.

If there’s a child in your life or a child in your heart who still longs for shining adventure, Liesl & Po will take her there. It’s beautiful. It’s transformative. It’s magic.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.

A Note About the Book:

I'd highly recommend obtaining the hardcover of this book if you can. The cover is gorgeous (click on it to enlarge and see for yourself!) and there are wonderfully simple pencil drawings throughout, some of which can be seen on the author's website here. It will make a spectacular gift for the right person for the holidays. Mwark.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
November 3, 2012
A truly magical story! Liesl & Po will open your heart and make you reminisce on your childhood days when you believed in magic and when anything was possible.

The first thing I noticed and fell in love with in this book was the wonderful illustrations inside it's pages:

Also, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found under the dust jacket:

These added greatly to the imagination and increased the charm of the story immensely. I loved the way the characters were defined in the images. They were exactly how I would have pictured them.

The story takes us on a journey with Liesl and her friend ghost, Po, to bring her father's ashes to a house they lived in before her stepmother got in the picture. The same evil stepmother who locked Liesl in the attic since her father got sick - which was a year ago.

This book held extraordinary characters. Each and every one of them were fascinating and I couldn't help but be enthralled by them. When I met Liesl, I was immediately drawn to her innocence and devotion. I really enjoyed her trek to get her father's ashes to their house and how all the characters came together in the most uncanny way. What I also found great was how every characters had a big part in the novel. It didn't necessarily have one main character, it had many and you get to understand and adore every one of them, as well as despise the villains.

It didn't have the most unpredictable plot. It was actually pretty foreseeable from an adult standpoint. But this is a story that is written for children (9-12). Of course adults can enjoy this as well, much like the well loved Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Coraline and lots of others novels. The predictability of the plot never affected my appreciation of the book for a minute. The characters, the magic, the heartfelt moments were sufficient enough. It gave me the same feeling as when I curl up during the holidays to watch my favorite movies that I've seen a hundred times but never fails to make me laugh and smile.

Liesl & Po is a an enchanting tale that will bring tears to your eyes and won't fail to make you smile. I look forward to reading this to my son in a few years.

Profile Image for Nataliya.
745 reviews11.9k followers
April 27, 2023
It's a lovely and touching children's book so lovingly described by Jim.

But alas, I think I'm a bit too old and cynical for it to affect me the way I hoped it would. Which is my fault, not the book's, really.
"On the third night after the day her father died, Liesl saw the ghost."
This is the story of an 11-year-old Liesl, an orphan, who has been locked up in the attic by her evil stepmother (by the way, why are all fairy-tale stepmothers uniformly evil and ugly?). She meets Po, a ghost, an "it" from the Other Side, who has no memory of life on the Living Side. For the touch of the irresistible cuteness, we have Bundle, Po's companion, who may have been a dog or a cat back on the Living Side. And there is also Will, a young alchemist's apprentice, whose unwitting mix-up set the events of the story in motion.
"People need other people to feel things for them," she said. "it gets lonely to feel things all by yourself."
"She liked the word 'ineffable' because it meant a feeling so big or vast that it could not be expressed in words. And yet, because it could not be expressed in words, people had invented a word to express it, and that made Liesl feel hopeful, somehow."
This is a story full of melancholy and sadness. No wonder - from the afterword we learn that Lauren Oliver wrote this after a death of her friend, and the grief is palpable through the pages of this story, further illustrated by the beautiful and somehow sad pencil drawings. This is a story of loss and grief, sometimes explicitly stated (Liesl) or just heartbrokenly hinted at (Po and its traces of memories of friendship and being left out). It is the story of childhood that was not full of love and kindness (Will).
"Useless was one of the alchemist's favorite words, and he used it interchangeably to describe Will's plans, thoughts, work, appearance, and general selfhood."

But it is also a story of hope overcoming sadness, light ultimately winning over the darkness. A story of beautiful sadness, so to speak, the kind that ends up being uplifting and serves as a guiding beacon on the way to ultimate happiness. It is the story I would have adored as a small child. But this is also a story that does not completely ring true to my adult self, calloused by world experience. And this is why.

This story is set in the world of greyness, the world from which the sun and brightness has been removed years prior. But in contrast to the greyness of this world, the narration is clearly done in terms of black and white. We know who the good guys are. We know who the bad guys are. They are clearly defined, clearly separated, without much development that suggests growth or evolution or depth that blurs the back-and-white distinction. I guess I miss the in-between, the borderline that gives dimension to the world. But I remember loving having the world defined as 'good' and 'bad' so clearly when I was little. Hey, that's half of the appeal of the Disney movies, after all - the lovely clarity that they bring to our world. But I still missed the greyscale, so to say.

The ending - beautiful and satisfying. But given the tone of the story, I was half-hoping for a touch of bittersweet. I think my childhood has been scarred by the ending of Exupery's The Little Prince, when I suddenly realized that the Prince may have not just simply gone back to his planet and his Rose. And that feeling of childhood mental scarring is what somehow was making an adult in me long for a bittersweet ending here.
"Two visits to the living side, and the ghost had already become a little more human. Po had remembered how to lie."
All that said, I still enjoyed this book very much. The drawings were beautiful. The story was compelling. It is quite quotable. It leaves the reader with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, and even my cynical heart knows that sometimes all of us need a bit of that feeling, a bit of something that is uplifting and beautiful, and realism or bittersweetness be damned. And at the end, I gladly give this story 3.5 stars, put it on the imaginary bookshelf meant for my future (hypothetical) daughter, and recommend it easily.
"And this, really, is the story-within-the-story, because if you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the world will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light.
But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.

Recommended by: Jim
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
March 30, 2012

I originally gave this 4 stars but changed it after I did some thinking. I definitely wanted this book to be at least 4 stars and even convinced myself at certain points that it was far better than I actually found it to be.

I have nothing against children's books - and I do actually mean children's, not young adult - I think they can be just as powerful and moving as any adult novel, if not more so. There are all kinds of factors that can make these younger novels so appealing: interesting characters, fast-pacing, magical worlds, pretty hidden messages that make you sigh and force you to remember the book for long after you put it down...

Well, as much as it breaks me to say it and as much as I did find some pleasure in reading Liesl & Po, this book just struck me as being nothing special. I didn't realistically believe that I was going to get another Harry Potter, but there are many kids books I've enjoyed, Beyond the Deepwoods, the haunting A Monster Calls (though, arguably more young adult but from a child's POV)... the former took me on a wild and exciting adventure and the latter left a lasting mark with it's beautiful message. I think Lauren Oliver was going for both but actually achieved neither in the end.

****Some spoilers for the beginning - won't ruin the story****
The story is about a girl locked in an attic by her evil stepmother (oh yeah) and one night she is visited by two ghosts called Po and Bundle. One is vaguely boy-shaped and the other could be a cat, or maybe a dog but none of that actually matters because things aren't so straightforward on the Other Side. Po has met Liesl's dead father and passes on the wish that his ashes will be scattered beneath the willow tree at the house where they used to live... so the escape plan begins. Meanwhile, in another part of town, an alchemist's apprentice called Will makes a terrible mistake by muddling up a box full of the world's most powerful magic with the box containing Liesl's dead father's ashes. And eventually everyone's after the pair, whether for magic or revenge...

Basically, the book is about a mix-up, some ghosts and a few vindictive characters out for what they can get. There is no message, no hidden meaning, and I found the ending somewhat anti-climatic. Also, there are questions left unanswered that I can't talk about in this review without giving away the ending; but they're quite important questions, whose answers could have greatly added to the story.

I also found Liesl, Po, Will, and everyone else as well to be very one-dimensional. They all had agendas but they never seemed to have thoughts or feelings. If someone asked of me: "think of one word to describe Liesl's personality", I would reply "errrr...." and the same would go for all the other characters too. I don't think it relevant to point out that this is a kid's book, having memorable characters with unique personalities should be important to all age groups surely.

I gave this book 3 stars for the light entertainment that it provided me and also because some of the writing is indisputably beautiful. However, it does not really stand out to me amongst children's fantasy novels and both the world and story created were largely unexciting. The illustrations were quite effective, though.
Profile Image for Cait.
76 reviews1,671 followers
November 21, 2011
If you don't have this on your to read list, put in not there right now.

Ahem. Come around, everyone, and join me and my cat in this amazing review of a truly amazing book.

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Such a peaceful scene........my cat and me.

I know that I don't write many five-star reviews, or even give out many five-star ratings in general, which I why I waited a solid day to let my feelings germinate about whether or not that this book truly deserved such high praise from me.

And I can honestly one-hundered percent tell you all with absolute certainty that this book does.

I honestly wish that more authors would write like Oliver does; even if they aren't strictly children's story writers like Oliver. Her writing is so prolific and gorgeous. Basically, kind of like what I said on my A Monster Calls review, she makes you think and opens you up to new ideas that would never had occurred to me before without experiencing it personally. That, in and of itself is one of the grew attributes of Liesl and Po. She makes you feel like you're actually right there, standing alongside Liesl as she hovers on not just the threshold of the attic where she's been kept for over a year, but also on the precipice about making a choice between staying with what she knows or becoming who she wants to be. Who she was before. When she makes her choice and steps out of the room with this upcoming quote, the realization is just as much of a breath of fresh air as it is to her:

Perhaps that's how the sparrows did it too; perhaps they were looking so hard at the peaks and tips of the new rooftops coated with dew, and the vast new horizon, that they only forgot that they did not know how to fly until they were already in midair

Just to add icing to this already delicious cake, she is able to weave together incredibly beautiful phrasing and then to come back and end them with such simple, matter-of-fact statements is altogether mind-blowing and beautiful in its own way:

Time ticked forward. Stars collided. Planets were born and died. Everywhere and in every fold and bend of the universe, strange and miraculous things happened.
And so it was, just then.

I bow down to your wordy prowess, Oliver. And weep because I will never reach that same kind of level. I just said wordy, for pete's sakes.

The plot and different POVs of Liesl and Po are also great. It just chugs along and always kept me entertained
as I read; there was never a point where I was totally bored. If I wasn't reading about Liesl and Po on their adventure together I was learning about the amazing Other Side from Po, being disgusted by Liesl's stepmother, and learning about all of the characters. Now, normally, all of those POVs just doesn't work, but without them in the story, I don't think the final scene would have had the same affect as it ending up having for me. I doubt that this will happen, but if the many point of views bother you or you think that they're boring, just wait for the ending of this novel and it will all work out. I sure as hell got a little misty-eyed by the end of this amazing little tale so, yes, have a couple of tissues to dab your eyes. It's not as gut-wrenchingly sad as A Monster Calls (another great great great story that you should all check out if you haven't already) but it still twinges the heartstrings in just the right way to get a reaction out of me every time I read that section.

The famous poet Pablo Neruda (who is pretty much my favorite poet, and if you haven't seen any of his work you should really check it out) really helps to explain this book as a whole. From one of his most famous works Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines, he states, "loving is so short, forgetting is so long" Besides the great eloquence and sheer amazingness from that statement along, not forgetting the poem as a whole, that's really what this story is about. No matter how much you try, you cannot escape, cannot "forget", yourself; your true self. The Lady Premire will, for all her posturing, be that whiny, poor, fisherman's daughter. A little, blonde-haired, girl with a face to match her kind heart locked up in an attic for over a year will never stop being that bright, creative soul. A small ghost named Po, and a cat/dog who mwarks his way through conversation will, no matter how much the Other Side deigns to pull them apart; make them shadows of their former selves, will eventually return to the light, to who they were before. Even nature, the biggest, most complicated, and, yet, one of the most simple matters of our existence will go back to what it used to be-what it should have been. However, whether that ineffable (if anyone has read this book already you may give me some props for that) part of you; your Essence, essentially, is good or bad is up to you to make as a child.

Which is why I believe that childhood, and what you do with it, is so enormously stressed in Liesel and Po. That's the time where you make yourself, mould yourself into who you will always be, even if you change paths as an adult. A little boy who grew up wanting to be a fireman and is now an adult will always be, deep down, that little boy wearing an overly large fireman's jacket and bright red hat; maybe even holding a whistle, strutting around the house proudly displaying that he is the protector of that house. Maybe he does become a fireman/police officer as an adult, but he will almost always be a brave soul, even if that little boy grows up to be a marketing salesman. Another girl *cough cough* me *cough cough* who was always ran around catching frogs in her muddy little stream, attended animal adoption gatherings like it was a party, and was enamored with doctors shows and watching surgeries even from the age of seven, will probably do something in the medical field as an adult. Even if she doesn't she will most likely always be a kind and caring soul. Childhood is something that's enormously precious to each and every single one of us, and since most children won't exactly understand that if we tell them, and that mostly ruins the point of childhood; that soft, brilliant, innocence, it's our job as adults to just give them the nudge in the right direction. They still might make it there without us, that's one of the great attributes of children, but isn't that the point of life? One of the points that Oliver tries to teach? Why even claim that you have life if you do nothing with it? Nothing productive that changes the world- whether it's by drawing a small ghost paintings of trains with wings and honoring your father's final request, or giving a small little boy a hat who looks like his ears are cold even if it means chasing him across the country to do it?

It's your life, folks. Do what Oliver suggests in this book first by reading it, understanding it, then doing it. You never know what may come of it.

Thank you all for joining me in this little chat. You may pet the pet owl on your way out:

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And if you don't want the owl, you may also have this kitty cat:

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Profile Image for Lyndz.
108 reviews348 followers
May 4, 2012
If I had to choose one word to describe Liesl and Po, that word would be “ADORABLE”. If I could choose two words, they would be “ineffably adorable”.

I sincerely wish that I would have chosen to read this before I read Delirium. I honestly think I could have enjoyed the writing style in Delirium more had I known what Oliver was capable of.

Somehow Ms. Oliver has managed to capture a special magic, while not the same as “Potter” magic, it is still quite addicting and mesmerizing. I have heard a couple people call this book “an instant classic” and I actually agree. This is one of those gems you find from time to time and want to share it with everyone you know.

I really can’t say enough about how adorable this book is. Although it is a children’s book, I think pretty much anyone could enjoy it. It is a short and easy read.

Liesl is a lonely little girl who has been locked in an attic by her evil step mother.
Po is a lonely ghost who appears to Liesl from the other side, with a pet named Bundle. “Whether Bundle had once been a dog or a cat was, at this point, impossible to say. Sometimes, in the natural inquisitive tilt of its head, and the twitchiness of its tail, and the prick of its ears, it seemed very cat. Other times, due to its tendency to follow Po around everywhere and yelp excitedly at every shooting star or wisp of cloud dust, it seemed much more dog. “

(this is how I pictured Bundle)

One thing I love about this book is that Lauren Oliver has stated that she does not intend on writing a 2nd one.
Lately it has really bothered me that some authors seem to try to capitalize on their books and keep writing more and more and more long after the story has been told and done and beaten like a dead horse. I admire that Oliver has decided to let this book stand for itself.

5 enthusiastic stars! I am so glad I read this.
Profile Image for Jim.
77 reviews255 followers
April 21, 2012
This was my first read of a Lauren Oliver book. It was obvious after the first few pages that it was extremely well written, and that there was a special - one might say ineffable - quality about the writing.

All of the great books have a special quality in their prose. But there was something about this one that just radiated warmth. The phrases and pages had a symphonic quality as they wound around my head - a sort of perfection of timing and tone, of musical phrases moving separately and then coming together.

I kept thinking, as I read, about just what it was that made the book so magical for me. After all, this was a “children’s book”, and I had bought it for my my two grade-school-age boys. I did that because of glowing reviews from GR friends that I trust implicitly, including those from Wendy and Kaethe. As I have said before, it is extremely easy to find the best books to read when you rely on advice from those who REALLY know books, and have read (seemingly) EVERYTHING.

Well, of course our boys were too busy destroying intergalactic aliens on the Wii, DS, computer, etc. to be bothered until ‘later’ with any book that I recommended. Especially when I hadn’t read it, and especially when there were Big Nate and Wimpy Kid books lying around handy - known and trusted sources for boy-humor. (I get nightly Big Nate passages read to me by the younger one, when he is supposed to be asleep)

So, I picked a propitious moment to tag along with my friend Cillian and read this book. And promptly fell in love with it.

Liesl is a lovely little girl who has been locked away by an evil force in her life. Living in miserable conditions, she grieves for a lost loved one. When Po appears, her life begins to change.

“...Po wasn’t exactly sure why it had appeared in Liesl’s room... Over the past few months Po had seen a dim light appear at the edges of its consciousness at the same time every night, and next to that light was a living one, a girl; and in in the glow of that light the living girl made drawings.”

As each new character is introduced, we get a fascinating thumbnail of the personality, but little idea of how the pieces will fit.

“...a very frazzled-looking alchemist’s apprentice was standing on the quiet street in front of her house, staring up at her darkened window and feeling sorry for himself.”

“Pathetic, the alchemist would say. Worse than useless. As ridiculous and deluded as a frog trying to turn into a flower petal...”

The potions and magical elements start to appear. And the story begins to take shape around a small wooden box and an unfortunate (and portentous) mistake.

What follows is a series of highly fortunate, and then most unfortunate coincidences. And if you are like me, you are not bothered at this point by trivialities such as probables and plausibles. After all, the bending of realities is not sooo egregious, and the elements of fantasy are so beautifully delivered that every piece seems to fit exactly in its proper place. Even the evil ones are deliciously bad, and the whole structure moves forward with a sublime rhythm that I found completely mesmerizing.

“Augusta produced a large golden key from her purse, and with it unlocked the gates. She gestured grandly for the Lady Premiere to precede her into the yard. Inwardly, Augusta trembled with excitement. A visit! From the Lady Premiere! Who was a princess in her native Spain (or was it Portugal...?)! It was outstanding! It was unheard of! The neighbors would seethe with jealousy.”

The plot lines cross and re-cross, and this magical story winds along, with all of its twists and turns. The prose is superb throughout. Every step of the way, you get a clear (3rd person) picture of the thought processes in each of the characters.

For me, this book succeeds at every level. I was particularly pleased with the treatment of the good-vs.-evil themes and characters. It is easy to look around us and see evildoers (use your own definition) who succeed beyond any notion of ‘justice’, and to conclude that there is no justice in this life. But if you observe carefully, you can often find examples where evil is its own undoing. And every now and then, you can give a little boost to the process and speed things up just a bit. If you think about how that happens, you might just find some of the same elements at work in this tale.

I felt a wonderful sense of calm as the story ended, thinking about the mastery of what I had just read. Then I read through the poignant afterword, and the whole story made even more sense to me. I strongly recommend that Author’s Note, for a personal perspective on what she was feeling as she wrote this, and how she came to see the story when it was complete. I don’t want to spoil that here.

As an adult reader, I was completely taken away by this book. I would recommend it for most adults, and of course for children above, say, age 6 or 7. There are some frightening bits at various points, but I really see this as one for ‘kids of all ages’.

Very Highly Recommended
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
November 18, 2011
Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.

I usually do not read children's books, but when my good friend, Wendy, told me about it, I knew I couldn't resist. And I'm so glad I didn't. This book has that unputdownable quality to it. Lauren Oliver, this is the kind of magic that I fell in love with when I read Before I Fall.

Liesl is a young girl locked in an attic by her evil stepmother. It has been almost a year since she left the attic, let alone stepped outside the house. One day her father dies and she, sadly, was not allowed to say goodbye to him at the hospital. So, for three days she does not light her oil lamp and or draw. It is then that she meets a lonely ghost named Po, who lives on the Other Side. Meanwhile, there is Will who is also horribly mistreated by his adoptive parent, an Alchemist. He is sent on an errand to deliver the Greatest Magic in the World to Lady Premier, but takes a detour to Liesl's house as he usually does, which leads to a mix-up. As fate would have it, Liesl ends up in possession of this Great Magic. She along with Po, Bundle, and Will travel on a journey where they discover friendship, say goodbyes, and find a new and brighter beginning.

This book was very charming and I'm quite impressed with Oliver. I found the characters Liesl, Will, Po and Bundle to be very lovable and I constantly worried for their safety. They'd all been dealt very sad cards in life and I kept thinking, "Those poor children. Give them to me. I would love them." The mistreatment of children is just something that deeply bothers me to the core. But through all their difficulties, I loved how they kept on moving forward. Even when situations seemed very bleak, they did not give up. It reminded me of the 1995 version of The Little Princess . I simply adore that movie and the main character, Sara, possessed the same fighting spirit of Liesl that I looked up to as a small girl. Sometimes awful things happen to you in life and it can be hard to pick yourself up, but you must, but more importantly, you can do it. It's a wonderful message to present to young people. This is definitely a story I see myself reading to my kids when they are older.

More reviews and more at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews946 followers
November 24, 2011
“Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Loved the story, loved the characters but I wasn’t a fan of the style.

High Points.
Liesl. Po. Bundle. Will. Magic. The Other Side. The Living Side. Hats. Big ears. Trains. Alchemy. Attics. Accidents. Sketches. Illustrations. Ineffable.

Low Points.
This I the first book written by Ms Oliver that I’ve read and, I have to admit, that I was warned against her.
Notnotnot because Ms Oliver is a bad writer and her books are awful and she hates kittens but because my friend knew that I wasn’t a fan of this kind of writing style.
Over the past few months of reading YA, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more likely to give up on a book because the writing style annoys me than if the character (although, AFPs are another story) or the plot does and I was so close to giving this one up or at least having a long break where I would sit and look at its cover, stroking it occasionally. Luckily, I didn’t because like I mentioned in my high points I loved the story and I loved the characters.
I just found the descriptions so distracting. Normally, when writers use long, sprawling descriptions of the smallest things it’s because they don’t really have a story to work with and they’re just spinning it out.
But Ms Oliver has a story and it’s a great one and it’s such a shame because based on that alone, this could have been one of my favourite reads of 2011.
It just wasn’t working for me and while I don’t want to jump head first into cliché land… this kind of style is like that yeast-based sandwich spread that we all love to have opinions on.
(If you’re wondering, I hate it. Even that pink champagne one they brought out… eeerrgh)

Also, it’s unfair that Bundle doesn’t come and visit me on occasion to cuddle me and mwark in my ear.
Stop hogging it, Liesl!

Cast of Characters.
I was going to create a heroine section but I kind of liked these characters altogether. I think they connected really well together and, even though Liesl held them together, I still thought of them as one.
I had some problems with the consistency of Po’s character, but I won’t go into it because they’re only minor quibbles.
My favourite character was probably Bundle and I’m glad that it turned out to be that.


Do you have a copy of this book on or about your person?
Yes? Turn to page 8 and 9.
No? (Here you go…scroll down a bit. Pictures are too much faff on Goodreads.)
The picture is the one I am planning on writing to Ms Acedera about and requesting her to paint it on the wall in my bedroom that I have picked out. (Right next to the wall where I’ll be asking Mr Kay to recreate every single picture from AMC. I am determined to make my bedroom look like a children’s book and I will succeed, gosh darn it!)
Anyway, these pictures were absolutely glorious and were perfectly paired with Ms Oliver’s dreamy/magical prose. I loved the almost smudgy finish they had and they reminded me of when I was in primary school and used to ‘shade’ by licking my finger and rubbing at my drawings.
I probably don’t need to tell you that mine didn’t end up looking like these ones..
But they really fit in with Oliver’s descriptions of the world and how everything had that bit of mysterious blur about them.

Theme Tune.

Bronte by Gotye.

I know that this is actually about a dog, but I still think it’s an extremely beautiful song that fits perfectly with the dream-like tone of the book.

Sadness Scale.
8/10. While I was skimming over other people’s reviews before reading this I kept noticing people mentioning the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book.
So when I picked up my book, I had a nosy and was a bit confused because, well, my copy didn’t have one. It was only when I got the end that I realised the UK version had placed the author’s note at the end.
(I wonder if there was a particular reason why it was placed at the end?)
Anyway, I really liked what Ms Oliver had to say about the book and the personal reasons as to why she wrote this story. The world, the characters and the plot were given a lot more context that I had seemingly missed when I was reading it.
I especially loved this part:

“Actually, it is the opposite of an escape; it is a way back in, a way to enter and make sense of a world that occasionally seems harsh and terrible and mystifying.”

Because isn’t that just beautiful?
So even though I wasn’t completely enamoured with the way they were presented, I was really taken aback by not only the idea, the raw and realistic emotions, but also the sentiment behind it. And I believe that Ms Oliver did a stellar job at portraying all of this.

Recommended For.
People who want a beautiful story with a wonderful cast of characters…but people who don’t mind, in my opinion, overly-constructed prose. People who have ever wondered what it’s like to hug a ghost. People who have always wondered what they could put in that box they bought from Shared Earth but haven’t used it yet. People who are always in the need of a hat. Secret sippers.

You can read this review and other exciting things on my blog here.
Profile Image for ✦BookishlyRichie✦.
639 reviews1,038 followers
December 29, 2020
****Re-read in December 2019!

Loved it even more the third time around. This is such a special book to me and it's a perfect winter read. :)




Now that was entertaining!

It is easily one of the BEST books I’ve ever read and has now become one of my favorites of all time!

This was such a cozy and magical read. I wish I had read it in the fall or winter. It would’ve fit perfectly with either of those seasons.

The first thing I have to mention is that this is a pretty damn dark book and grotesque at some points and I loved every ounce of it. I tell you, I’m sick in the head haha I love my dark middle grade reads. Not only was this dark, it was also touching and heartwarming at the same time. I found myself reaching across my bedside table for a tissue every so often (I still have tissues on my bedside table because I’m still under the weather.) and when a book can tug at you like that, it’s a gem!

I loved all of the characters, even the nasty, evil ones. This book is 307 pages but feels like it was 600 at least, but I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. It was paced beautifully and almost every character got their moment of development, which made the story much more magnificent. Lauren Oliver really outdid herself with this one, it was written amazingly.

Liesl, Po, and Will are the MAIN characters of this book, but the other characters might as well be main too because as I said, almost everyone had their POV and usually that bogs a story down for me and makes me lose interest in the story but in this book, it did the exact opposite. It made everything even better and I didn’t want it to end.

Just a little side note: I had my music on shuffle while I was reading the last 100 pages of this book and right when I was reading the LAST page, “Can’t take it in” by Imogen Heap began playing and holy crap it fit the ending PERFECTLY! That really made it an even better reading experience.

This book features: a strong twelve year old girl, a spunky genderless ghost, another brave young boy, a cute little cat-dog spirit, murder, mayhem, suspense, dark-comedy, adventure, heartbreak, darkness, and plenty of magic.

If any of those things above interest you, PICK THIS BOOK UP NOW!

I’m waiting for this to be adapted into a movie. It would be perfect. :-)

- Richard
Profile Image for Ronyell.
955 reviews322 followers
October 5, 2013
“A Tale about a mix-up that changes several characters’ lives forever!”


For many years now, I have been reading the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling and I really enjoyed every single one of them! Now, I have found this quite unusual book (thanks to my friends!) called “Liesl and Po” by Lauren Oliver along with illustrations by Kei Acedera and boy, was it an enjoyable ride that I would not mind reading about again!

The story starts off with a young orphaned girl named Liesl being able to see a ghost named Po along with its cat/dog companion Bundle and how she became fast friends with the ghost. As the story unfolds, we are also introduced to a young orphaned boy named Will who is an apprentice to a well-known alchemist and how he was sent on retrieving an important box that contained great magic made by the alchemist. Unfortunately, Will accidentally mixed up the box containing the great magic with another box that had Liesl’s father’s ashes in it! To further add to the mix-up, after Po tells Liesl that her father, who had died years ago, wanted Liesl to put his ashes near the old willow tree at their old home, Liesl decided to go on a journey to her old home to put her father’s ashes near the willow tree, when in reality, she had the box containing the magic created by the alchemist!

Understanding the story so far? Do not worry; it will start making sense when you read this book!

The reason why I mentioned “Harry Potter” earlier was because this book was really similar to “Harry Potter” as both books have fantasy elements, an intense story and gorgeous illustrations that accompany the story. Probably the best thing about this book was Lauren Oliver’s writing style for this story as each chapter focuses on a different character, but each character arc slowly builds up to a larger story towards the end. Lauren Oliver has done a brilliant job at developing each character in this story as we feel sympathy for both Liesl and Will as not only are they orphans, but they are hunted just because they were carrying a box that supposedly has great magic in it and they did not know about how important the box was. I also loved the supernatural elements in this book as there are ghosts and magic galore and it really brings a creative streak to the story (especially for me since I love reading about supernatural elements!) and having a ghost as a best friend was a truly unique way of telling a ghost story where the ghost actually helps the main character! Kei Acedera’s illustrations are reminiscent of the illustrations in the “Harry Potter” books and they are extremely beautiful to look at. I always loved the two page panels of the illustrations done by Kei Acedera, especially the image of Liesl’s old home as you can see a gorgeous looking willow tree near a pond on the left side of the page and then an old moss covered house on the right side of the page. The black and white colorings of the illustrations really bring out the dramatic tensions shown in the story and make the story even more effective to read through.

Willow Tree

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating is because I felt that there were many scenes where the book moved too slowly in pace. The beginning started off really slow and I was waiting for something exciting to really happen to the characters. It was not until the second half of the book that the story really started to pick up and even though I loved the second half of the book, I wished that there were more dramatic scenes regarding the characters.

Overall, “Liesl and Po” is definitely one book to check out if you are a huge fan of the “Harry Potter” books and you also love children’s books that deal with supernatural themes! Since this is my first book by Lauren Oliver, I am definitely looking forward to reading more of her works in the future!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

I would like to thank my Goodreads friend, Brenda for recommending me this book!
Profile Image for Shannon.
3,090 reviews2,360 followers
March 12, 2012
This is a lovely book recommended to me by Wendy Darling - go read her review for a much more in depth look into this book. I had never read Lauren Oliver's work before, but now I definitely want to seek her other books out. The story is one that reminds me a great deal of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, a book that I also enjoyed immensely, so if you liked Liesl and Po and want something similar to read I urge you to check out Valente's book.

Before I got to the end I thought I'd give this one four stars because I didn't feel as emotionally attached as I thought I could be. Don't get me wrong, the writing is beautiful and the story is wonderful, but I felt like something was just missing that would have made it a five star book. Then, I got to the last couple of chapters and I could barely see the words through my tears. The emotion just hit me, much to my surprise at the same time Liesl was forced to deal with things. Even now, I get a bit choked up remembering it and typing this out. I alternately love and hate books that do this to me, and most of the time if a book evokes this kind of reaction then I can't help but give it the full five stars.

Thank you, Wendy, for recommending this one. Now go read the Valente!
Profile Image for K..
182 reviews719 followers
December 8, 2011
I must surrender my breath as it is threatening to choke me with all that this book put me through. Lauren Oliver's Liesl and Po is a beautiful, painfully moving declaration of love, loss, yearning, despair and discovery.

It is about a sad and lonely but hopeful and pretty little girl called Liesl who, with the help of her ghost friends boy-or-girl-but-most-likely-boy, Po and cat-or-dog-but-most-likely-dog, Bundle and young-but-poor-and-recently-homeless-former-apprentice, Will, sets out to lay her dearly departed father's dust in peaceful rest at the "pond by the willow tree". There's a lot going on in this book. Its so heart-wrenching - and I don't like using that expression because it is so overused but this book is...There's so much wanting and wishing; some grand, some mischievous and some devastatingly simple. What struck me most was how knowing Oliver is of the human heart and all of its nooks and crannies. Not that its hard to understand ourselves (although it is), but her intent is so clear that it is because I know exactly what the characters want and need that my own heart broke. Liesl wishing her father back, Po finding again what it is like to feel and remember, Will looking for someone, anyone, to think more of him than useless...Mo, ever grieving his long lost sister; the alchemist, hungering for his long overdue glory; the Lady Premiere denying her shameful past...so much running from and racing to, all desperate, lost and determined in their own way.

The writing is exquisite. Oliver's language is soft and poetically abstract. She compels us to live in her world where time and space are both infinite and palpable; where one dies and dissolves back into the universe and becomes part once again of stars and space dust; where one has an Essence, within which one can hold another...a world so vague in its rules and regulations but so lovingly written that we know almost exactly what she's talking about...know what I mean? Like how someone rambles on, trying to describe something and failing at words but it doesn't really matter because you understand completely before they even get there. Reading Delirium, I knew Oliver was a good writer, but Liesl and Po has nearly no faults. There is one particular scene where she opens up a pocket of possibility, narrative but then emotional, and with a single blow dashes it to pieces before your very eyes. No, not dashes, because there's no mess, it leaves no fragments. She simply wills it gone and with it my breath.

The plot is a tangle of journeys; different intentions, good and bad, urging the pages on. There are several story lines playing simultaneously but it is impressively and neatly synchronized. The navigation throughout the interweaving narratives is seamless. We never seem to forget where characters leave off; each resume effortlessly. The book moves like a movie (only in that it is so visual and even) -- which is fitting as the book begins with really cool, movie-like credits. Let me gush about the illustration, just for a moment...they were beautiful! Gorgeous! Who's ever idea it was to open the way this book opens seriously deserves a raise. It isn't exactly brilliant (we should try not to throw that word around so carelessly), but it was very nice, and it certainly put a smile on my face. Its incredible how much disdain and malice an artist can infuse in the slight tilt of a woman's head, or how the smooth flow of a young girl's hair around her ear and down her shoulder can make her so real and endearing...

I'm going to buy a copy of this book. This is one I know I'll be revisiting in the future. Its an easy read; it goes so fast you hardly believe where all the pages have gone. But it really does reach out and hit you in the heart (wink, wink). Liesl and Po is a triumph...well done, Oliver. Well done, indeed. You say this story was your confession...here is your absolution.

Also, Mwark. Is that not the best invented animal sound you've ever come across?



Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches.
And so a story is born.


It was snowing, and late, and already getting dark, and as Will passed by Kevin Donnell's house, he had seen a door flung open. He had seen light and warmth and the big, comforting silhouette of a woman inside of it. He had smelled meat and soap and heard a soft trilling voice saying,
Come inside, you must be freezing....And the pain had been so sharp and deep inside of him for a second that he had looked around, thinking he must have walked straight into the point of a knife.

Looking at the girl in the attic window was like looking into Kevin Donnell's house, but without the pain.


Po had never seen a ghost cry before. There were no actual tears: just quivering little dark spots, like shadows that pushed apart the atoms of Liesl's father's face, temporarily revealing the starry sky beyond. Ghosts, even the newest ones, just weren't held together very tightly.

138 reviews
October 20, 2011
Oh I wish this could have been a book I had read as a child.
Brilliant, magical and inspiring.

Lauren Oliver is one of the only authors in which I truly love each and every one of her books. (Alongside J.K Rowling). Delirium, the first book I read by her, was brilliant. Before I fall, the second, amazing. Liesl and Po, no different.
I can imagine this story being purchased by Disney, or Pixar, at any moment.

The book itself (the hardcover version) Is also the most beautiful book I have on my bookshelf. But that’s not even the start, the illustrations inside are brilliant, and they added to the whole magical journey.
I won’t tell you the plot, for that, simply read the info section of the book, (duh) what I’m here for, is to tell you how good this book is, and I feel that I have.

But I’m also here to tell you WHY the book was good.
The story was clever, the characters were brilliant (count the amount of times I say brilliant in this review, it’s quite amusing), and the whole world was mesmerising.
You can also tell the story means a lot to the author and how she coped with the death of her friend. The effort put into this book, by the author, combined with the artwork, is brilliant (there’s that word again).

A child’s book that would be wasted if it was read by just children, for it contains hidden darker themes present, and a deeper level of understanding that only an adult could perceive.

Buy it for your kid, buy it for yourself, it really doesn’t matter. Just buy this book and love it, like I did.

That is all ;)
Profile Image for First Second Books.
560 reviews548 followers
May 31, 2016
I loved how much food was in this story!

(This book is in no way a story about food. It's a story about being orphaned and magic accidentally taking over the world and attempted murder and all sorts of other exciting terribleness.)

And yet -- it's a story about soup and hot chocolate and potatoes and everyones' lives are all surrounded by deliciousness.
Profile Image for Aly (Fantasy4eva).
240 reviews120 followers
October 5, 2011
From the moment you read the authors introduction which explains what inspired her to write this book - you find that the book is more than just another story, another project. It's a very big part of the author - it represents the passing of a best friend - it's personal. As the author mentions. LIESL & PO is the most personal book she has ever written. You flip to the first page with your eyes a little more wide open, aware, and even a little heavy hearted. Yet the world you discover beneath these very pages is delightful and magical. A story that belongs to a young girl called Liesl who lives in an attic locked away by her stepmother. Liesl's father has recently died and she feels more lonely than ever. She spends her days in the attic without complaint, eating what little is given to her by the servants and drawing to pass the time.

A lost boy called Will and a ghost under the name Po and his pet that are in between the living and the dead are the very characters that will change all that. Po's referred to as "IT" and it's interesting to see things from his perspective. I enjoyed how throughout the book he became more human - almost discovered feeling, and from time to time had a vulnerability about him when it came to Liesl. When Liesl, Will and Po come together the three set out to help one another and most importantly help Liesl do what in her hearts of hearts she knows she must. What I loved also was these three characters discovering themselves with each day and growing. Will has noticed the pretty Liesl for weeks if not months as he has stopped by her window nearly everyday, struck by her heart shaped face and this array of loneliness about her that matches his very own - on the way to doing errands for the Alchemist. You then have Po who seems to be changing in his own way the longer he spends time with Liesl. You notice through little clues. Such as; when he becomes irritated when Will is around, or when Liesl is paying him more attention - which I found amusing as well as quite touching. Or perhaps when Liesl questions him being real which often seems to hit a nerve. In a way she brings a little part of him alive a little more everyday through keeping him in touch with reality. I felt sorry for Po at times. His sadness weighed heavy on me. It must be hard for him to know that he can never touch her, express himself the way Will can. Then there is Liesl who finds herself grow warm with compassion for these very two individuals who have stayed by her side and protected her. Seeing the three of them grow closer day by day, look out for each other and trust one another is lovely. I became fond of them and found that they were all precious to me. I wanted to protect them during the not so great days.

I don't read MG but reading this book has opened me up to the possibility of reading more. Although the premise isn't really anything new or remarkable it's the characters that will win over the hearts of readers - particularly Liesl. Of course it helps that the author has a way with words. LIESL & PO was fast paced, delightful and completely endearing. Liesl is a character who you can't help but love. Trusting, adorable, caring and naive she is a breathe of fresh air. As the three set off on their journey they will face countless obstacles; particularly people who have other motives. In a dark dreary world that seems to have lost all colour, our protagonist seems to be the only one who shines bright.

The illustrations only brought the book and characters to life, and were are a much welcomed addition to the book. The ending itself is beautiful, but more so perhaps because of the awareness of what it represents. When I saw a certain part I couldn't help but think of the author and her best friend; I couldn't help but think how hard and sometimes unbearable, as well as bitter - sweet it must have been to write this book; that very part. It was these thoughts which made my eyes well up and realise just how personal this book truly was. It made LIESL & PO all the more wonderful to me.
Profile Image for Laura.
750 reviews270 followers
January 7, 2020
3.5 stars. I enjoyed an awful lot about this book. I was looking for a light, magical read. This one was pretty heavy; it explores grief and what life is like on the Other Side, and for those stuck on earth. I thought it was interesting, her take on gender, emotions and even pets for those who have crossed. Her writing is very smooth and easy to become absorbed in.

The author was apparently grieving her best friend when she wrote this, and didn't intend for it to be published while writing it.

The villainous characters were pretty much stock cutouts, which maybe I should expect, as this is intended for a middle grade audience, but their meanness was intense at times, and decreased my enjoyment a bit. There was humor, but only a small bit. I'd have liked to have seen more, especially in the tenser scenes.

The audio performance by Jim Dale was top-notch. Five stars to the audio performance.

I would definitely read more by this author. This was her first book for a MG audience; but let's see if she writes more.
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,137 followers
August 17, 2016
Really lovely to read a middle grade book by Lauren Oliver, the author's note at the end did a lot to enhance the story. With a great mix of characters and themes, I'm pleased my local library had this to offer!
Profile Image for Kayla Rayne.
101 reviews188 followers
January 8, 2017
“If you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the road will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light. But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.”

This is a magical middle grade novel featuring multiple points of view. There are three main characters of importance, but we see some scenes through the view point of others. Though a good portion of the story is set within the same town, there is a nice little adventure that leads you away towards the middle and end of the book. I had a lot of fun reading this book and thought that overall, it was a pretty solid read. There was a great balance of dark and whimsical.

Things I liked:

-The main characters were so fun to read and I found myself really rooting for them to win. Po is my personal favorite and I really enjoyed his view points.

-There is a great balance of dark and whimsical. The adults in this book with the exception of one are absurdly horrible while the children are straight up cinnamon roll characters. There is also a contrast in motives for each character that contrast nicely and add balance to the story.

-I am a sucker for friendship stories. I will say that I preferred Liesl and Po's story line over that of Liesl and Will.

Now a few things I didn't like.

-I didn't like that there was a lot of focus on whether or not Po was a boy or a girl. When this couldn't be decided on, Po was referred to as it. That was something that I did not like, and while I feel like this was not written with any ill intentions, it feels harmful. This is not something I can personally decided for every reader, but I did want to make note of this.

-I really loved Po's story line but it was cut off a little abruptly at the end. This didn't sour the story for me, but I was really sad that there wasn't a little more there in the end.

Overall this was a fun read and I do recommend it if you want something a little dark with a magical feel.

Profile Image for Paige.
92 reviews29 followers
October 2, 2011
so. cute.

I recieved an ARC from a teen library group that I'm on. :D

So, first things first: I have wanted an ARC forever. I have always dreamed of it, wanted to see the typos and unfinished artwork, wanted to be one of those people who gets to see the story first. And finally, I got one.

I'd hoped that it would be amazing. But I promised myself, even if the story stunk, I would still keep it on my bookshelf. It would be an ARC, mine, something to be proud of. The truth is that I had nothing to worry about.

Liesl and Po was a great introduction to the world of ARCs, and a delightful book to read.

The basic story is simple: Liesl lives alone, locked up in her attic by her cruel stepmother. One night, Po, a ghost, arrives, accompained by his half-cat, half-dog pet, Bundle. Liesl and Po become friends, and Liesl asks Po to venture into the Other Side (the land of the dead) to find her recently deceased father. Po does, and finds that Liesl's father wants nothing more than to be placed beside the willow tree, thousands of miles away, beside his late wife.

The basic concept is a bit cliched, and when I saw that Liesl was locked up in her attic I rolled my eyes. Fairytale cliche one, in my opinion--locked up girl, not knowing what to do with herself but reading her way out of situations and scheming about how to get out. But Liesl turned into so much more than that. She was strong, inquinstitive, funny, and creative. She was truly very strong, but also a bit nutty (which more than one character remarks upon).

Po was less developed in terms of the main characters. To tell you more about his back story -- well, I can't (major spoilers). But he was still funny and cute. My favorite line of his was from about page 3:

"Are you here to haunt me?" Liesl asked.
Po sighed. He hated when humans thought ghosts existed only to jump out at them, hide behind abandoned wearhouses and scare them.
"No," he said finally. "We have better things to do with our time."

He was probably the cutest character in the story. :)

Will was equally well developed, but then I come to my problems with the characters. The minor characters were all a bit cliched. There was evil stepmother Augusta, complete with murder, a rotund body and an icy daughter; thickheaded Mo, soft and sweet; the Lady Premiere, who was like a stepsister; and then the alchemist, who seemed a bit Jack Frost-esque to me. The characters were cliche, but they were a bit obvious.

They all seemed to fall into the same character holes: sweet, slightly naive and thickheaded; evil and mean with almost no reason (Augusta had no reason, really, but the Lady Premiere did), and wanting revenge and being dasterdly.

I'm probably going too deep -- the book is MG, and the characters are developed well enough that you still like them -- but they seemed a bit too obvious.

Onto the plot. I thought the plot would be cliche when I read the description (which by the way is different then the one on my ARC, HECK YEAH), but it wasn't. Oliver's lyricsm was on full blast, with goregous descriptions of scenery and characters. Sometimes the lyricsm seemed a bit much, like Oliver had written it that way since lyricsm was her "trademark". After Delirium, Oliver's last novel, I was worried about her next book.

But she triumphed. The book is a cute, fun romp full of twists and turns and a story I definitly would have enjoyed when I was younger. I still enjoyed it, though, and I think teens would still find it a fun, quick read.

Now, the part where I get to brag and talk about funny things in my ARCs. On the back, where the Library of Congress description is and such, Lauren Oliver's name is wrong. :P She's credited as Laura Schedenfrude. Apparently she changed her name right before the book went to print. XD It's a small mistake, but it was still funny.

There are also some cool tidbits, like on one page there is no art and instead gray boxes saying "ART TO COME"; the author and illustrator bios are missing and replaced with "LAUREN OLIVER BIO TK" (not sure what TK stands for; "To Come" has no K), and most of the art are sketches. It's obvious because there is some finished art, and it's a thousand times more clear and fleshed out then the rest.

So, to finish up, I recommend getting Lisel and Po the second it comes out. ;D Lauren Oliver has triumphed again, and I think she has returned to her "groove", especially after so many people disliked Delirium. A cute, fun, middle grade romp that's sure to be a delight for everyone, filled with Oliver's goregous writing and a clever plot.

Profile Image for nahes..
195 reviews13 followers
April 7, 2022
Termasuk buku tercepat yang aku selesaikan. Cuma dalam 3 hari yeyy. Page turner, karakternya lucu, si Will yg jatuh suka ala2 anak kecil sama Liesl wkwk, si Liesl yg polos tapi gemesin, Po dan Bundle si karakter hantu yg banyak berperan juga dalam cerita ini, karakter2 pendukung kayak Mo dan kucingnya, dan beberapa karakter jahat yg keterlaluan banget jahatnya:(
Disertain ilustrasi, cerita ini jadi lebih hidup dan bikin aku langsung ingat sama vibesnya film jumanji dan casper (jadi kangen nonton 2 film itu :')).
Awalnya mau ngasih rate 4,7 tapi aku agak terganggu sama penjabaran para karakter jahat dalam memperlakukan anak tiri, pelayan, dan suruhannya. Selain itu, keseluruhan ceritanya keren, endingnya juga lumayan memuaskan.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,235 reviews464 followers
June 16, 2017
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

After the death of her father, Liesl has been locked into the attic of her house by her step-mother Augusta. One night a young ghost named Po and his animal companion, Bundle, appear in her room from The Other Side. A young boy named Will is working as an apprentice for a powerful Alchemist and is told to deliver the most powerful magic in the world to The Lady Premiere that same night. Unfortunately for Will, there is a mix-up that causes a big adventure to begin for not only him, but Liesl as well.

The book was entertaining for the most part, but I found my mind drifting constantly while reading it. It couldn't hold my attention for longer than a chapter or two before I would put the book down and move onto something else. I did like Liesl, Po and Will as main characters. I found them to be very brave and strong. All three of them has a great amount of character development through out the story which I appreciated. My favourite character would have to be Bundle though, he was such a cutie... even though he was really just a shadow. I also really liked Mo, he was such a gentle giant!

The book covers multiple topics all in one in a way that middle grade readers will be able to understand and appreciate. There is a focus on not only death, but life as well. The author's note indicates she wrote it after the death of her best friend and I think that it makes the stories context that much more beautiful. I also really liked how the story included illustrations! I found myself looking forward to getting to the next one in the story.
Profile Image for Marika.
211 reviews
June 30, 2011
I was immediately captivated by the cover of Liesl and Po. This was a magical book, a new fairy tale, a story with both great darkness and wondrous possibility. And then I started reading...and Oliver's text was exactly what the cover promised.

The story begins in a world without sunshine. Liesl is locked in the attic by her stepmother and her father is recently deceased. Po and Bundle are dark ghosts who are attracted to Liesl's drawings and Will is an orphaned alchemist's apprentice who is attracted to her face at the attic window. When Will accidentally loses the alchemist's most powerful potion, accidentally switching it with the ashes of Liesl's deceased father, he is forced to run away. Soon after, Liesl sets out with Po and Bundle to bury the box she believes holds her father's ashes. While escaping a host of strange adults- characters who might have escaped from a Roald Dahl novel- Liesl and Will meet one another, their story threads weaving together effortlessly. But what will become of the most powerful magic in the world? And how can Liesl and Will ever escape the powerful and murderous adults following them?

Oliver takes the classic fairy tale ghosts, orphans, and evil stepmothers, and crafts a heart wrenching yet humorous tale that is completely original. Kei Acedera's drawings supplement the gorgeous text of this stunning stand-alone novel.
Profile Image for Seplucid.
70 reviews10 followers
February 27, 2016
"Dan sungguh, inilah inti dari segalanya, karena jika kau tak percaya bahwa hati bisa mengembang secara tiba-tiba, dan cinta bisa merekah layaknya bunga bahkan di tempat yang paling keras, aku takut kau akan mendapati jalan yang panjang, gersang, dan tandus, dan kau akan kesulitan menemukan cahaya.
Tapi jika kau percaya, berarti kau telah memahami segalanya tentang sihir." (hal.315)

Aku sumpah ga berlebihan. Cerita sederhana ini layak mendapat nilai sempurna. Dongeng mengharukan pembangun jiwa. Juga banyak sekali bait-bait indah dan menyentuh di buku ini.

Sang penulis menyebutkan, novel ini terbentuk bukan karena materi dan bukan sebuah pelarian. Novel ini merupakan sarana untuk kembali. Sebuah jalan untuk memasuki dan memahami dunia yang sering kali terlihat keras, buruk, dan membingungkan.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,355 reviews529 followers
September 2, 2017
When I saw this was a nominee for the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, I decided to listen to it on audio. I loved it! It was reminiscent of Roald Dahl's work as well as Kate DiCamillo's "Tale of Despereaux". Such a sweet story, but not sugarcoated and full of cliffhanger moments.

Liesl has been imprisoned in the attic by her evil stepmother after her father's death and is befriended by a ghost, Poe, and its pet, Bundle (Mwak!). There is a delivery mixup of wooden boxes resulting in a a scramble for all the characters to end up at the same red house.

It looks like the print version may have some delightful illustrations, so I will have to get a hold of that edition to see the story illustrated as well. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,632 followers
August 24, 2011
This ia a very charming book, though a total departure from BEFORE I FALL (which I also loved). In this old-fashioned tale of orphans, ghosts, and runaway apprentices, a little girl and her new friends go on a strange adventure which is by turns humorous, tense, and poignant. Such a good book! And it's illustrated, too. I read the Advanced Readers' Copy, so the art wasn't final, but it still looked fun, and I can't wait to get a real copy!
Profile Image for Mith.
284 reviews978 followers
March 25, 2012
I've been waiting forever and then some to get my hands on this book and let me tell you - the wait has been well worth it.

One of the most delightful and charming stories I've had the pleasure of reading in recent times! Pitch perfect in every way. I was shocked to see that Oliver, who also wrote the insipid "Delirium", can deliver such an outstanding book!

Oliver's writing was, at least for me, one of the highlights of this book. Mildly reminiscent of Enid Blyton, it was extremely endearing. THIS is how a story from a child's POV, but also appealing to the adults, should be written. The gorgeous illustrations are another wonderful thing about the book and make the story all the more enjoyable to read!

Highest possible recommendation for Liesl and Po. Must read.

P.S - The unnamed, grouchy, old, cat-allergic lady might possibly be my favourite character in the book (Behind Mo, ofcourse :D )!
Profile Image for Shanyn.
375 reviews141 followers
July 14, 2011
Ahhh I am so charmed by Liesl and Po!

I was first delighted by the fairy tale storytelling of Plain Kate by Erin Bow, which I found excellent; Liesl and Po is a book worthy of the same praises.

Liesl, Po, and Bundle are a quirky trio who are on an adventure together. Pair that with alternating chapters where we meet Will, and you'll be reading long into the night with a huge smile on your face.

This is a perfect read-aloud for a classroom or family, particularly because of its middle grade classification. The teachers, parents, siblings, and grandparents reading this aloud will be begging to read just one more chapter right along with the children listening.

A fantastic book by Lauren Oliver. I'm so amazed at how her writing has changed throughout her three novels - what a mark of an excellent author.
Profile Image for April.
2,101 reviews950 followers
December 26, 2011
I’m convinced that as an author Lauren Oliver can do no wrong. No matter the genre, she is a powerful storyteller. Liesl And Po, a story Oliver says is very close to her heart, is Oliver’s middle grade debut. It is a magical read in which ghosts play a prominent role and titular character Liesl must go on a journey and set her father’s ashes to rights.

Read the rest of my review here
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