Friday, June 10, 2011

A middle grade gem from Lauren Oliver

Liesl & Po
by Lauren Oliver, illustrated by Kei Acedera
HarperCollins, October, 2011
I was immediately captivated by the cover of Liesl and Po. This was a magical book, a new fairy tale, a story with both great darkness and wondrous possibility. And then I started reading...and Oliver's text was exactly what the cover promised.

The story begins in a world without sunshine. Liesl is locked in the attic by her stepmother and her father is recently deceased. Po and Bundle are dark ghosts who are attracted to Liesl's drawings and Will is an orphaned alchemist's apprentice who is attracted to her face at the attic window. When Will accidentally loses the alchemist's most powerful potion, accidentally switching it with the ashes of Liesl's deceased father, he is forced to run away. Soon after, Liesl sets out with Po and Bundle to bury the box she believes holds her father's ashes. While escaping a host of strange adults- characters who might have escaped from a Roald Dahl novel- Liesl and Will meet one another, their story threads weaving together effortlessly. But what will become of the most powerful magic in the world? And how can Liesl and Will ever escape the powerful and murderous adults following them?

Oliver takes the classic fairy tale ghosts, orphans, and evil stepmothers, and crafts a heart wrenching yet humorous tale that is completely original. Kei Acedera's drawings supplement the gorgeous text of this stunning stand-alone novel.

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