Authors: Lauren Oliver
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 11/10/11
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette AU)
Source: For review (thanks Hachette)
Age: MG+ Ghosts + death
Age: MG+ Ghosts + death
We meet Liesl the night after the day her young father has died. That same day she is visited by a ghost, Po, an eight year old boy who lives on the other side, the territory between life and death that runs parallel to the living world. Po has come to tell her that her father is stuck on the other side, and that she is the only one who can help him cross over. A couple of wooden boxes. Some ashes. Some magic dust. A ghost, its pet, and a boy who forgot to wear a hat in the cold. From these seemingly odd, random characters Oliver weaves the enchanting story of how, with the aid of Liesl, these elements come together over the course of one week to restore love and luster to a world gone grey and heartless.
Ever since Liesl's father died, Liesl has been locked up in the attic away from her stepmother and the rest of the world. But one day, she comes face to face with a real ghost, and its name is Po. On the Other Side, things such as gender become unsure... neither one or the other. Po can help her; and when he does, Liesl knows that she has to escape her prison in order to bring her father's soul to rest. She must take her father's ashes, kept in a box, and bury them where they belong. Meanwhile, her longtime admirer, Will - a grubby alchemist's apprentice - has been sent on a mission to deliver a box to a certain influential person. This story starts with a mistake...
First off, cover! I personally think that both this cover, and the US edition, bring justice to the book. While this one brings out the magic even more than the US, and I think the matching colours are pretty cool, the US edition is sure to look great on the shelf. I might even go ahead and purchase the US to match with the rest of my Lauren Oliver books!
LIESL & PO is Oliver's first MG title, and I can totally see the appeal. I would definitely recommend to any parent looking for a good MG read for their child, though I personally really enjoyed it too. There were many fun times, and I loved the lack of seriousness of it all. Mostly, just the presentation of the book is just so easy on the eyes. I shall forever be a sucker for illustrations in novels.
The writing, as expected, is nothing too complex or difficult to understand. It's mostly straight to the point, and reads quickly. Oliver takes advantage of the use of imagery in her writing for this book, and compares well to her YA titles.
What Oliver really excels at in this book is the character selections. They're memorable and each have their own quirks and individualisms. My personal favourite would be Bundle, or maybe even Mo, for anyone curious. The two kids, Liesl and Will, are precious in their innocence of the world and the perils they face ahead of them. Po acts like such a kid, I could swear it was someone I've known before. Just think of most any primary-lower high school *highlight for spoiler* boy, and that is pretty much Po.
LIESL & PO is a highly imaginative and enchanting story that is as heartfelt and sweet as it is witty and cleverly written. The characters are rich in personality; readers will delight in following Liesl as she, along with Will and Po and Bundle, breaks free from her suffocating prison of a home and returns to someplace she thought she would never return to. LIESL & PO is just brilliance.
* cheapest Australian e-store price
All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.