Catherine's Reviews > Liesl & Po

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, middle-grades, mysterious
Read from December 09 to 12, 2012

This was a lovely, but strange, little book...very different from Before I Fall, which is my only other experience with Oliver's writing. (Knowing that she's also written a YA dystopian series -- just not one whose premise really appeals to me -- makes me think she's quite the literary chameleon.)

The title is very cute and catchy, much better than Liesl and Po and Bundle and Will, although the latter would be more accurate. In addition to Liesl, recently orphaned and locked in the attic by her evil stepmother, and Po, a ghost who can't remember whether it was a boy or a girl who is always accompanied by Bundle, who can't remember whether it was a dog or a cat, the story also focuses on Will, the orphaned ward of a truly awful alchemist. The alchemist and a few other (mostly awful) adults make up the rest of the cast.

Mistakes are made, greedy adults want to get rid of the hapless orphans, story intersect with convenient coincidences. The book is very charming -- set in a nostalgic world touched by magic -- as are the main characters. There were glimpses of true originality, but most of the story elements are familiar and comforting. The illustrations are lovely, too. Overall, a book that I enjoyed, but not one that I'd consider an instant classic.

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