Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review of Liesl and Po

Liesl and Po
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: October 4th, 2011

Ever since I read a galley of BEFORE I FALL, I've been a fan of Lauren Oliver. She sucks you in with an inventive plot, but you stay for the writing. And in LIESL AND PO, her first middle grade novel, the writing is Oliver's best yet.

Before the story starts, there's an author's note. Lauren Oliver wrote this book in a place of profound sadness after the death of her best friend. The story is such an elegant, eloquent expression of her grief--it's sad, funny, angry, lonely, touching, and redemptive all in the right proportions.

LIESL AND PO is like a cross between THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and THE SECRET GARDEN. It's on the darker side, although it's got bits of heartwarming humor. The world is one that hasn't seen the sun in over a thousand days. Nothing thrives. Add to that the fact that Liesl has been locked in the attic for weeks and just lost her father, and you've got the makings of a real downer. When Po and Bundle arrive, however, things start to look up.

In the weeks after my own best friend's death, I think I would have found Oliver's descriptions of the Other Side comforting. Although this is a middle grade novel, it addresses timeless feelings, and it does so beautifully. I will happily--and sadly--read this book again.

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