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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver


Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: September 1, 2011
Pages: 307
Rating: 5 STARS


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.

In short: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver is a wonderful and whimsical MG fantasy that reminded me how much I love the genre.
Reading Liesl and Po reminded me how much I love MG and how much I miss reading it. I get so caught up in all the YA releases that everyone is reading and loving that I forget about all the MG releases that also sound amazing. Liesl and Po is truly a special gem of a book, a wonderful MG fantasy that had me smiling at the adorable characters and tearing up at the poignant premise.

Every element characteristic of an MG fantasy was present in Liesl and Po - unexplained and whimsical phenomena, magical elements, cartoonish characters, etc. - so much so that at times, it almost seemed cliched because it was so ideal. This may be irritating for people who are looking for an MG read that breaks the mold a bit, but I was fine with it because I adore these elements, personally.

Lauren Oliver's signature beautiful writing was of course present in Liesl and Po - fantastical and gorgeous and effortless. The use of the third-person omniscient point of view lets the reader see the story through the eyes of many different characters, which makes for very effective storytelling. I was impressed that Lauren Oliver was able to translate her usual realistic teen writing into whimsical MG writing - if I hadn't known any better, I would have thought that she's been writing MG all along!

I read Liesl and Po when it was made available free online by HarperCollins for a limited time, but I will most definitely be purchasing a beautiful finished copy. I look forward to seeing Kei Acedera's wonderful illustrations in ink. And I also look forward to reading a lot more MG in the future!

Other Reviews:
Alison Can Read
i swim for oceans
Poetry to Prose

Author Links:
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30 comments :

  1. This was an amazing novel! I bought it as soon as I finished reading it. I can't wait to read it to the little people in my life. Hoping they'll love it as much as I did. Great review!

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    1. I would totally read this to the little people in my life too except I don't have a good and flowy reading voice. Still, I'll be recommending it!

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  2. I think people should read more MG. Personally, if the story has an interesting premise, I love the genre! I'm surprised to see that the author of this book is Lauren Oliver. Who knew? But it's nice to hear her quality of writing is there :)I will be looking for this book in my library! Thanks for the review Aylee! (I'm also glad to see you have found a few five star books in a row :D)

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    1. True, premise can be everything regardless of age recommendation. I was surprised that she would write something so different from her usual fare too! Heh, the last two were 6-star ratings :) Thanks for reading!

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  3. Looking forward to this one. I have it on my shelf waiting to be read :)

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  4. Now you've got me missing MG! Not that I ever really read it, well aside from all the R.L. Stine stuff, but I kind of skipped that genre and ran straight to romances, I blame my grandmother. LOL

    Had I known it was free, I think I might have checked it out. So glad you had the chance to and that you really enjoyed it. :)

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    1. I didn't read a ton of MG either when I was the appropriate age because I was just rereading HP over and over again! Your grandmother got you reading romance at an early age, eh? Haha, interesting.

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  5. I vaguely remember reading about 25 pages of this one and then...I stopped. Weird. I'll have to dig around my bookshelf and find my copy, especially since I'm a huge Lauren Oliver fan (and a fan of whimsical writing)!

    Wonderfully written review, Aylee! :)

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    1. I found that once I started reading, it was just so easy that it was hard to put down. I would recommend giving it another chance if you can!

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  6. I love this review because I felt the same way about it! It reminded me of why I love books like this and the familiar elements gave me a cosy feeling. I really enjoyed the writing in this book, it was very quiet and beautiful.

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    1. Yeah, I felt at home reading about the familiar elements too, though it wouldn't surprise me if some people thought they were too cliched. I will forever be a lover of Lauren's writing!

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  7. I don't read much MG, but I can't wait to get to this one. I adore all things Lauren Oliver, and I've heard this is such a wonderful story. Given your 5-star rating and your glowing review, I'd say you agree:) So glad to know you enjoyed this one Aylee!

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    1. Yay! I'm excited for you to read it! It was such a beautiful, poignant story. And you know if the author is Lauren Oliver, you're going to get something good :)

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  8. Glad you liked this book Aylee :) !! I don't read a lot of MG books but I loved Before I Fall and Delirium so I might give this one a shot ;) !!
    Thanks for the fabulous review !!

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    1. I was motivated to read it because of other things I've read of Lauren's as well! I still have to read Before I Fall though!

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  9. I've been hearing so much ab out this book and I can't wait to read it. It sounds like everything I love about MG too!
    Thanks for the review!

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    1. Yay, I can't wait to hear what you think of it! It really did seem to be like the perfect MG fantasy, everything in place.

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  10. I tend to sideline MG, too. I love Lauren Oliver's writing, so I don't know why I haven't read Leisl and Po yet! It sounds amazing. Great review, Aylee! :)

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    1. I'm ging to try to make it my goal to sideline MG no longer! I feel like I am seriously missing out. Lauren's writing is the main thing that motivated me to break out of the box and read this.

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  11. Great review! This is the first I hear of this book, but it sounds amazing. After reading Oliver's other books, I'm curious to see how she handles MG. I'll have to give this one a try.

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    1. I was surprised and so impressed with how she was able to make the switch so seamlessly from YA to MG. It felt like she was meant to write MG. And also meant to write YA, of course :)

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    1. Oh yes, you do! You won't regret it!

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  13. I really liked this book. Lauren's writing is beautiful. I thought the 3rd person omniscient POV helped make the book sound more otherworldly and magical.

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    1. I agree. There's something about getting every point of view that just clicks in my head as strange and fantastical because it's so unusual. She really nailed the effect.

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  14. You should definitely buy a hardback copy because the book jacket and hardback cover are unique and gorgeous!

    I wasn't as big a fan of this book as you were because I felt it was paced a little slow and didn't feel a strong connection to the characters. But I definitely agree with you that Oliver's writing is beautiful and that this book fell into a lot of the classic elements of a fantasy MG.

    Great review!
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

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    1. Yes, I definitely plan on buying a finished copy! I can see a bit where you're coming from with the gripes that you mentioned. All I know is that I loved every second of it :)

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  15. Squeal, I just got this one on my iPhone as an audio book from the digital library. I'm a huge fan of L. Oliver's writing style. I can't wait to find time to listen to this one. Its only 5hrs long. It should be easy to finish. I just need to get started. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one. I'm also a big fan of MG, I think I could potentially like MG more than YA.

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    1. Ooh, excellent! I'd love to listen to this one in audiobook form. Only if they have someone who excels in great character voices though! You know, I think I feel the same way as you about MG.

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