Last week, I experienced the power of story.
Unexpectedly, my family lost a wonderful woman as my Grandmother passed away from cancer. Needless to say, I have been in the process of grieving. Last week I headed home for the funeral arrangements and to spend time with family, but as I was leaving town, I stopped by the library and picked up a book I have been wanting to read for awhile… but just haven’t had the chance to pick up yet. After finishing the story, I believe this book waited to find me until I really needed it. Not only did I discover a beautiful read, but a story that touched me when I desperately needed one too.
Author: Lauren Oliver| Website
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Living a lonely life locked away in an attic, Liesl grieves for the death of her father and the life her stepmother has condemned her too. Her friends are few until she meets an unlikely friend named Po–a ghost from the Other Side.
The very same night Po appears in Liesl’s room, Will, an alchemist’s apprentice, causes a terrible mix-up of marvelous magic that will bring the three together for an unexpected journey that may just bring light to the darkness.
5 reasons why this book is marvelous!
- When I was a child, I often read books to escape the taunting of peers, and the feelings of loneliness I experienced. As I have grown, my reasons for picking up books have changed–enjoyment, assignments, recommendations–but there is always a part of me that understands the power of story when it comes to the sadness of life. Liesl & Po has been on my reading list for many, many months, but I haven’t ever picked it up before now. For reasons beyond me, sometimes I feel as if books speak to me–telling me to wait and to only read them at certain times. This has been one of those times and books. Before I started Liesel & Po, I read Oliver’s author’s note, only to discover she wrote this story at a time of her life when she herself was grieving. Liesl & Po is a story of loss, but it is also a story of the beauty that comes from loss. It is a deeply touching story, and one that pulled me from my initial feelings of shock and sadness.
- Liesl, Po, Will, & Bundle, are beautiful characters. I felt as if I could relate to all of them at one point or another during the story. The heart of this story is another orphan story, and that is the beauty of it. These characters have all experienced sadness in one form or another, and through the course of the novel, they learn to rely on and love each other.
- As always in her writing, Oliver’s prose is lyrical and absorbing. The minute I began Liesl & Po, I did not want to close the book. I found myself carrying it around with me during everything that happened last week because if I could even have a moment where I read one sentence or one paragraph, something in me was ok–just for that moment. As I read, I fell into Liesl, and Po, and Will’s world, empathized with them, and left my own things behind.
- In addition to Oliver’s lyrically, beautiful prose, the story is illustrated by Kei Acedera (who I must have illustrate my middle grade novel, should there ever be one.) The illustrations were a complete and wonderful surprise to me when I opened up the story. There aren’t very many in the overall page number of the story, but the number that is there is integral. Acedera gives the reader a glimpse into Oliver’s imagination which only adds to the story. I was always a fan of picture books as a kid, and I think illustrations are another reason why I am so drawn to MG lit. Yes, I have a visual imagination and I love to create the story inside my head… but when I’m given a glimpse into a story’s world through someone else’s eyes, I feel as if my imagination can expand the world even further.
- I feel the desperate need to not tell you much about the actual story except that it is a story of both losing and finding things. It is a story that, should you sit down to read, you will enjoy and find beautiful. But it is more a story that should find you when you need it because only then will you be able to see into the deep magic of the story and let it change you.