Monday, March 12, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Liesl & Po

To find out more about Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, click here.
Title: Liesl and Po 
Author: Lauren Oliver (link)
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Pub Date: September 2011

Synopsis: 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.

First Line:  On the third night after the day her father died, Liesl saw the ghost.

If you can't resist a book that starts with someone locked away in a dusty attic, then look no further. It has all the markings of a cozy, classic read best enjoyed with a mug of cocoa.

Life and Death in Middle Grade: One of the great things about Liesl & Po is its gentle introduction to some very adult themes - death, loss, and the afterlife. Kids will not fear the story's ghosts, or even the places they inhabit after death. Though some of the storylines involving death are very real, the imaginative, magical world they are developed in eventually reveals a lighter, more hopeful spin on the circle of life.

Why You'll Love Po: There is a band of fun, unique characters that follows this journey, but Po quickly became my favorite. It is a ghost. It has a ghost pet that is something between a cat and a dog. And its  observations of what happens on earth versus The Other Side are simple yet profound. Sometimes Po is as vague and mysterious as its shadowy shape, and other times it will reveal itself in wonderful ways.

You can always find more MMGM love here: 

  • Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog
  • Jennifer Rumberger's blog
  • Joanne Fritz's blog
  • Danika Dinsmore's blog
  • Shannon O'Donnell's blog 
  • Natalie Aguirre's blog
  • Brooke Favero's blog
  • Barbara Watson's blog
  • Anita Laydon Miller's blog
  • Michael G-G's blog
  • Pam Torres's blog
  • Akoss-Nye Louwon's blog
  • Gabrielle Prendergast's blog
  • Kelly Polark's blog 
  • Isaiah J Campbell's blog


  1. Oh, yay! Po was my favorite too! Glad to hear you liked the book as much as I did.

  2. The cover reminds me of A Series of Unfortunate Events, so I don't know that I would have looked at it. I've written it down for my TBR list though. Very helpful review, Gina.

  3. I just read this about a month ago because I heard so much about it. It is different than much of what's out there in MG; I think that's what I appreciated most about it.

  4. FANTASTIC book! And the perfect choice for MMGM. :-)

  5. You've got another Liesl & Po champion here. Every time I see this book I just want to hug it and then put a copy in everybody's hands so they could read it. :)

  6. I have this book on my to-read pile. Great recommendation.