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.
Lauren Oliver can weave any story into gold with her hypnotizing prose. While I enjoy her YA books much more than I did this middle grade effort, I do think she can write anything and make it magical. This book had a Roald Dahl-esque feel to it, but, in my opinion, it was much better written. I was never a fan of Roald Dahl (I know, I'm like the only person on earth, right?) but Oliver has the benefit of her beautiful writing to keep readers interested and intrigued. I would compare her to Maggie Stiefvater that way. Even though I'm not always buying what's happening in the story, Maggie lures you in with her magical writing. Lauren Oliver is the exact same way.
The audiobook has the added benefit of being narrated by the one and only Jim Dale of Harry Potter fame. How can you go wrong there?
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, narrated by Jim Dale
Published: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins and Harper Audio
Audiobook length: 5 hours, 55 minutes
Audience: Middle Grade