Ever since her father died and she was left in the care of her stepmother’s tyranny, Liesl has been locked in the attic of a house which was once her home, no longer allowed to leave. Lonely and heartbroken from her father’s death, Liesl draws pictures to pass the time. And one day, a ghost called Po sees them and appears in the shadows of her bedroom. He tells her tales of another, even darker world, the only world he can still clearly remember. They become fast friends, and before long, Liesl begins to plan how to escape her attic and return her father’s ashes to the place where they belong.
Meanwhile, Will, the apprentice of a powerful, unpredictable alchemist, is sent to bring the most powerful magic in the world to the Lady Premiere. But his task doesn’t go quite according to plan. The Lady Premiere obtains something decidedly less remarkable, and the magic falls into the unknowing hands of Liesl and Po.
Liesl and Po is a book which is simultaneously deep and young, the poignant story of a girl searching for friendship and a relief from her father’s death, a story in some ways simple and in others not simple at all. I would recommend this book for readers ages nine and up, but although I read this for the first time several years ago, it’s one of my enduring favorites because of the simple yet rich beauty of the story, the characters, and the prose.
Lauren Oliver has an enticing writing style which pulled me in and characters who I truly love. There is a nice balance of magic and adventure, and mystery as well. (And the cover is one of my favorites—it depicts the book beautifully!) I would highly recommend Liesl and Po to readers ages nine and up.