Happy Friday, and welcome to the latest installment of our monthly feature
where we review Children’s books.

Liesl and Po

By Lauren Oliver
Illustrations by Kei Acedera
Amazon / B&N / Indiebound / Goodreads
307 pages (Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook)
Published October 4th 2011 by HarperCollins
Audiobook borrowed from library

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.

Being a fan of Lauren Oliver’s early YA novels (I ADORED Before I Fall), I had high expectations for what promised a grand Middle Grade book.  Sadly, this one fell a little short of my hopes.

This book has so many wonderful things going for it:  adorable, engaging main characters, suitably scary, yet not overbearingly so, villains, and a story line that leads them all on a journey of growth.  And yet, while I liked all the parts individually, on the whole I just didn’t connect.  Perhaps it was the fact that I listened to the audio and didn’t read the physical book, which I’ve read in other reviews is beautifully illustrated, still while I was happy for the characters, I never truly feared for them, one way or another.

I think, however, the story, particularly the physical version, will resonate with younger readers, early middle grades in particular, for whom this will be just the right amount of drama before heading off to bed.

A pleasant adventure, particularly for the younger set, this is a nice MG effort from a great writer!

Now go and get lost….in a book!

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Lover of words and authors; absolute fan girl of books! Give me a good story, with characters I can love (and hate) and I'll follow you anywhere. Sing me a song of worlds I can dream of, and I'll listen forever.
hrose2931 1/4/2013

Oh too bad! I’ve heard so many great things about this novel. Maybe it was the audio version. I listened to the audio of Before I Fall and couldn’t stand it! Funny, right?

Heather
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Pushy 1/5/2013

Heather, I’m one of the rare folks who didn’t absolutely adore this book, so you should still consider checking it out, but perhaps not in audio. :)
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Mary @ BookSwarm 1/4/2013

I enjoyed this one, especially since I was reading it with my younger students in mind. There was just enough villainy and shivers for a younger reader without going over the top of being too cutesy. Not one I’d read again but one I’d definitely recommend to lower MG readers.
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Pushy 1/5/2013

Agreed, perfect for lower MG. And I love that you get to read this with your students, Mary! You have an AWESOME job!!!!!
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