Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

By: Lauren Oliver
Illustrated by: Kei Acedera
To Be Released on: October 4th, 2011
Ages: 8-12
Source: ARC from publisher at TLA
5 stars: I Loved It

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. - quoted from Goodreads

A beautiful, heart warming story with a timeless adventure that all of us can relate it.

This poignant story starts off with a letter from Lauren talking about her journey with Liesel and her inspiration for her story. This personal letter is so moving, that it made me teary eyed, and I admire Lauren even more so for sharing it. It really set the tone for her book and often times through out the story I thought back to what I read. I really hope they keep it in the published copy. Though the story was a personal one for Lauren, it became personal for me as well. I really love that she wrote the story in that manner. It's one that anyone who's every lost someone close to them can relate to. It's story about love, heartache, despair, hope, adventure, friendship and so much more.

This story is centered on a young girl named Liesel. This sweet, compassionate, caring young girl is both friendless and lonely as she's been locked in the attic by her stepmother after her beloved father passed away. Things change for her when she meets Po, a mysterious boy who's drawn to her by her light. What ensues is a beautiful friendship founded on trust and love. Not the romantic kind of love, but the love you have for someone you start to care about them. The humor and wit really pick up in the story when Po and Will, the alchemist's apprentice meet. It made for some great laugh out loud lines. The best way to describe these two guys is to say, Po was the protector Liesel needed on her journey and Will became the friend she always wanted. These characters so richly written, in depth, and lively. I love the way Lauren intertwined their stories throughout the book.

I've not yet seen the published copy, but the ARC cover is gorgeous! I love the tattered edge pages (I know there's an actual name for it) and the illustrations are amazing! I can't wait to see what they look like in the published book, because in the arc, these whimsical illustrations really added a new depth to this story. I'm a huge sucker for illustrations in MG books and these are some of my favorites. I love the shadowing on them, the way the simple illustration mark the beginning of a new chapter and I love that each illustration captures both the feel of the story and the magic behind it. These illustrations are truly the perfect match for this incredible story.

Liesel & Po's story is charming, moving, heartwarming, enduring, and captivating. There are so many elements within this story that readers of all age will relate to it. Some of the stronger themes that I enjoyed are that of family (whether you're blood related or not), love, loneliness, grieving, finding hope and realizing happiness is truly all around us and sometimes found in the most unlikely places. This a story that kids, teens, and adults will truly fall in love with, be moved by and take comfort in. I highly recommend picking this book up on Tuesday, when it's out!

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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~