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Liesl & Po

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,749 Ratings  ·  1,490 Reviews
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 sw

Hardcover, 307 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by HarperCollins
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Popular Answered Questions

Lizzie Yes, definitely. I believe I read it when I was 10 or so.
Miriam I believe it is a fictitious location.

Liesl's address is 31 Highland Avenue, Dirge.

I don't think it mentions what country, but I would guess on the…more
I believe it is a fictitious location.

Liesl's address is 31 Highland Avenue, Dirge.

I don't think it mentions what country, but I would guess on the Northeastern coast of the US.

At first, I was thinking somewhere in the United States, or in England, but details from the book--along with the fact that the author was born in New York, New York--make me think it is more likely set in America.

The book mentions that the sea lies to the East and the South. Mo, the guard, is made fun of by his coworkers for preferring hot chocolate over coffee. Mr. Gray also uses an empty coffee container. If it were England, I would think it would mention tea. (I'm sure coffee is popular there now, but the book mentions using oil lamps and lanterns, as well as traveling by train and vehicles drawn by horses and donkeys--so it is not contemporary.)(less)
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Newbery 2012
15th out of 141 books — 721 voters
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Most Exciting Books Coming Out Fall 2011
64th out of 229 books — 919 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling
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 lift
Jul 28, 2012 Nataliya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nataliya by: Jim
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"
Nov 03, 2012 Giselle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
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
Emily May
Mar 30, 2012 Emily May rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy, 2011

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 char
Nov 20, 2011 Cait rated it it was amazing
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 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-hunde
Jul 04, 2012 Catie rated it liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Jim
I read Delirium and it really wasn't for me. I didn't like the premise, the romance, the characters, the story or the writing style. So understandably, I've been avoiding Lauren Oliver's books ever since.

But then there's this one: middle grade fantasy + magic + ghosts + illustrated novel + everyone's raving about it + some sort of talking pet (?? I hear) = sounds like Catie candy.

And yet, I was hesitant. UNTIL...Jim challenged me to read this IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE. Just how much does overall wr
May 04, 2012 Lyndz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
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 co
Apr 21, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids of all ages
Recommended to Jim by: Wendy Darling
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
Steph Sinclair
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 o
“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
Oct 04, 2013 Ronyell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Supernatural Children's Literature!
Recommended to Ronyell by: Brenda
“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
The Holy Terror
Mar 12, 2012 The Holy Terror rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of fairy tales and children's stories with deeper meanings
Recommended to The Holy Terror by: Wendy Darling
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 t
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
Richard Denney
Mar 20, 2016 Richard Denney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-favorites


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
Conor McHugh
Oct 20, 2011 Conor McHugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: honour-shelf
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 bookshe
First Second Books
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.
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
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 bene ...more
Maddie (Heart Full Of Books)
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!
Jun 30, 2011 Marika rated it it was amazing
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 attr
Oct 02, 2011 Paige rated it it was amazing
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 w
Shannon O'Donnell
Oct 11, 2011 Shannon O'Donnell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was in love with this book by the time I finished reading Lauren's note to readers at the very beginning. That's right--BEFORE I had even read page one! I struggled with the endings of both Before I Fall and Delirium (although I LOVED Delirium) but this book is a whole different flavor.

Liesl is so utterly loveable; I adore her. And Po is . . . wow. And Will? I love him. My heart ached for him at first. The characters in this story feel like they could just walk off the page and into your heart
Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit)
Jul 14, 2011 Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bea-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 classifi
Feb 27, 2016 Seplucid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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. Ju
Mar 28, 2015 Andreas rated it liked it
3,5 Sterne. die story war zwar nicht die Neueste, aber es hatte schöne Sätze und Stimmungen und die Charaktere und der schreibstil waren toll
Dec 26, 2011 April rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 23, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, kidlit
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!
Jul 14, 2014 Micheline rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Micheline by: Giselle
Words can not describe how utterly heart-warming, how completely enchanted and how truly ineffably happy Liesl & Po made me feel. Out of all the children's fairytales I have read in my youth and my adulthood, this modern tale really was an absolute joy to read. The prose is breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely delightful. The characters are exceedingly loveable; instant classics. The story itself is simple enough, though layered with deep and rich lessons about love and loss. I am truly e ...more
Mar 05, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
My Summary: Ever since the devastating loss of her father, Liesl has been kept hidden in the attic by her stepmother. Given little food and nothing else to do, Liesl comforts herself with her drawings.

Liesl's talent catches the eye of a mysterious ghost named Po and his pet Bundle, who keep Liesl company in her dreary prison cell. But once a chain of events is set off and Liesl's father's ashes are mixed up with a box containing something extremely precious, Liesl and Po escape the attic, setti
Feb 07, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who is still a child at heart
Recommended to Michelle by: Wendy Darling
As Wendy Darling said best in her review of this gorgeous book; a good children's book will not only entertain you, but illuminate your life. It was Wendy's review which made me decide to read Liesl and Po and I am so glad I did.

Liesl and Po is the story of a girl and a ghost. Well, at first it appears to be; however, it is so much more. This is not just Liesl’s story. It reminds me a little of a TV drama; all the characters are imperative to the show, but there is one that holds them all toget
Apr 30, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, owned, ya, winter-2012
Check out my review At Paperback Princess.

I thought this book was overwhelmingly adorable. As I said earlier this book reminded me of The Series of Unfortunate Events. If you've read even one book in that series, you will understand what I mean by the similarities of the worlds created in these books. They seemed to be the most simple forms of our world, just with magic which makes them the best for young minds and their imaginations.

The book starts with Liesl who is locked in her attic by her s
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All About YA : Liesl & Po 5 13 Oct 06, 2014 12:31PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: May 2013 Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver 6 22 May 25, 2013 02:16PM  
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Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of content development company Paper Lantern Lit. 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 acquire ...more
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“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.”
“(I)f 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.”
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