Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins (2011)
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. (GoodReads)
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After finishing Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver I was unsure about my feelings, so I decided to let it stew for a while. I eventually came to the conclusion, that while I liked the story as a whole, I was not really blown away by it. This was largely due to the characters.
I loved big eared Will despite his stalker-like tendencies that reminded me vaguely of Anthony Hope from Sweeny Todd, but with a significant amount of less creep and more cute. Sure, he screwed things up here and there, but he was truly a good kid at heart and who was just looking for a place where he would feel welcomed. The fondness I held for Will brings me to the struggling feelings I had for Po.
Po was an interesting character and I really wanted to like its character without question, yet I couldn’t bring myself to do so. In no way did I hate Po! I just had trouble really identifying with it. As I mentioned above Will was possibly my favorite character from the book and I felt myself coming to his defense when Po and him were in each others company. I couldn’t help but feel like Po was just a bully at points. Also, the reveal at the end for Po’s character felt, to me, a bit underdone though, admittedly, I was slightly surprised by it as I was expecting something totally different (which would be a huge spoiler to say). It was a very strange feeling.
As far as Liesl goes, I did not much feel for her at all one way or the other. She reminded me a bit like Cinderella with only one evil stepsister and no forced cleaning. My biggest problem with Liesl was both Po’s and Will’s seemingly sudden obsession with her. They both technically had reason to be. The former missing life and the latter being lonely, but I felt like it could have been expanded on. I kept thinking, “why Liesl and not some other girl or boy? What made her so special?”
As far as the other characters go (the Alchemist, Mo, Lady Premiere, Augusta, and so on) they each had their own role to play. I did think Mo’s sister was going to be more important and was slightly disappointed when she wasn’t really utilized at all. The Alchemist did seem to come to a sudden decision at the end, but (after thinking about it) it really didn’t seem to sudden at all. I did, however, like how they all had their own ‘endings’ to help tie up the roles they played in this series of accidents and misunderstandings.
The actual telling of the story was the best part of Liesl and Po. (I had briefly mentioned to my roommate I wished it was called The Misadventures of Will. I would be happy to read another story about him.) The author went back and forth between characters to show how certain events played out and how the actions of the characters affected things. It was a domino effect. With the switching back and forth it was possible to see a glimpse into nearly every characters thoughts, which I thought was nice. I liked being able to hear what motives were pushing them on, why, and how they were ultimately effected by it. The way Lauren Oliver made her ghosts was also very interesting. Po was most definitely no Casper!
If you are looking for a story about hope and a journey about acceptance this story just my be for you.
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I absolutely love everything about this trailer.