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Liesl & Po Hardcover – October 4, 2011

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006201451X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062014511
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A wonderfully imaginative, startlingly moving and at times wickedly funny fantasy. With nods to Dahl, Dickens, the Grimms and even Burnett, the author has made something truly original. Acedera’s frequent black-and-white illustrations are a perfect complement. An irresistible read: This book sings.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Classic fairy tale elements weave throughout this spirited, old-fashioned adventure. Invigorating and hopeful, this novel testifies to the power of friendship and generosity to conquer greed and depression.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“With her third book, Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall; Delirium) creates another highly original world, this one for middle-grade readers. Oliver introduces orphans Liesl and Will, a touch of magic, some delectable coincidences, and friendship that stretches from the Living Side to the Other Side.” (Shelf Awareness)

“A gorgeous story--timeless and magical.” (Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me)

“Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver brings much-needed magic to an increasingly neglected age group. It’s books like this, with its classic quest plot, intertwined with lyrical metaphysics, that can set a child up for life.” (The Sunday Telegraph)

“An absolute delight...Although aimed at younger readers, the lightness of touch and the tenderness of the message could make grown men weep.” (Daily Mail (London))

Praise for Before I Fall:“Oliver’s debut novel is raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful....readers will love Samantha best as she hurtles toward an end as brave as it is heartbreaking.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

Praise for Before I Fall:“Samantha’s attempts to save her life and right the wrongs she has caused are precisely what will draw readers into this complex story and keep them turning pages until Sam succeeds in living her last day the right way.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review))

Praise for Before I Fall:“Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel...This is a compelling book with a powerful message and should not be missed.” (ALA Booklist)

Praise for Before I Fall:“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. You’ll have no choice but to tear through this book!” (Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why)

Praise for Before I Fall:“Before I Fall is smart, complex, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lauren Oliver has written an extraordinary debut novel about what it means to live—and die.” (Carolyn Mackler, author of Tangled and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, a Printz Honor book)

Praise for Delirium:“In [Oliver’s] dystopian America, love has been outlawed as the life-threatening source of all discord. Lena’s gradual awakening is set against a convincing backdrop of totalitarian horror. The abrupt ending leaves enough unanswered questions to set breathless readers up for volume two of this trilogy.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

Praise for Delirium:“Strong characters, a vivid portrait of the lives of teens in a repressive society, and nagging questions that can be applied to our world today make this book especially compelling and discussable.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

About the Author

Lauren Oliver is the author of the teen novels Before I Fall and Panic and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and are New York Times and international bestselling novels. She is also the author of two novels for middle grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was an E. B. White Read Aloud Award nominee. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the cofounder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit.

More About the Author

Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She is also the author of two novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee. Lauren's first adult novel, Rooms, will be published in September 2014. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#45 in Books > Teens
#45 in Books > Teens

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Customer Reviews

Because Liesl & Po is beautiful.
The love and care that Lauren Oliver put into this story is apparent in her beautiful writing and the enchanting story that she has woven.
I think anyone who enjoys historical fantasties age middle grade or older will enjoy this book.
K. Eckert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Christie W. VINE VOICE on September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Liesl and Po is a sweet fairy tale-esque tale for children (and young at heart adults). There's a dash of Cinderella (as Liesl is a lonely little girl who has been banished to the attic by her mean/evil stepmother) plus a taste of Dahl's Matilda- in the existence of mysterious magic and the madcap adventures. Liesl spends her days alone with only the dim memories of a former life and her sketchbook to keep her company. Will, the apprentice to the town's alchemist, has a lonely life too. He works for a crazy man who yells at him constantly saying that he is useless and worthless. So here you have two children who have no light in their depressing live. They have no family, or friends, or love, or hope. It's a pretty sad life, just as dark and dreary as the town they live in- with no sun, most crops are not able to survive- so they eat everything made of potatoes...

One day, Liesl meets Po, a ghost from the Other Side, a mysterious dimension of wandering souls that haven't moved on, and have lost most memories of their previous lives. They become shadows that don't even remember if they're male or female. Animals are indistinguishable from a cat or dog. Po and Liesl work together to escape the attic and bring Liesl's father's ashes to bury next to her mother's grave. But the box that they carry does not hold ashes but rather a great amount of magic. Will dropped off box of ashes to the Lady Premiere and box of magic to Liesl's stepmother. Will is chased out of town because of his mistake and crosses paths with Liesl. Now they work together to get their destination.

I didn't quite know what to expect with this story. After reading and enjoying Oliver's Delirium, I tried to read Before I Fall- and just couldn't get into it. Liesl and Po is a completely different type of story.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alison on October 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When you look back to your childhood, what classic stories do you treasure? A Little Princess? The Secret Garden? Matilda? The books that linger in our memories as adults all seem to have a certain magic. Maybe the book actually is about magic or maybe it captures the figurative magic of childhood that we could bottle up as an elixir and drink. Liesl & Po is one of those magical books that children fifty years from now will love as much as children today.

Liesl & Po is a book of friendship and loneliness, of greed and generosity, of death and life. Liesl is mourning the death of her father and suffering alone in the attic, where her evil stepmother has locked her up. Alone that is until a ghost named Po shows up one night with his animal (maybe cat, maybe dog) named Bundle. Liesl needs Po to get in touch with her father. Po needs Liesl to reconnect with the living. Further away, Will walks the streets alone at night on errands for his boss, the Alchemist. He may not be locked up in an attic, but he is every much as trapped as Liesl. We watch as all three lives collide and then travel together in an exciting and heartwarming adventure.

Lauren Oliver created three fabulous characters. Liesl seems the essence of naivete as she sits in the attic not questioning her stepmother's actions. But we soon learn that she is creative, stubborn, and brave as she pushes Po to find her father and eventually escapes the attic. Po is by far my favorite character. It is young yet it is not. It has the knowledge and arrogance of an eternal soul, but expresses itself in the manner of a petulant child. Will is clumsy, somewhat immature, and has the insecurity of an abused child. Yet he is also kind, loyal and goofy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erin Satie VINE VOICE on September 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I usually skip the forwards to books, but this one caught my attention and now I'm a little perplexed. I honestly don't know how I'd feel about Liesl & Po if I hadn't read the forward. Differently, for sure. Maybe I'd like it just as much. But reading the forward makes the book so much more poignant that even when I noticed something that might irritate me elsewhere - a heap of coincidences, for example - I didn't mind.

Liesl & Po is pure and strange in the way of fairy tales, beautiful even when it's grim, bursting with wonder and deep feeling. The characters aren't fully fleshed but they're vibrantly alive, and the trio of protagonists - the titular Liesl & Po, as well as the alchemist's apprentice, Will - are darling and easy to root for.

The book is about Liesl's journey to lay her father's ashes to rest by her mother's grave - except that, thanks to Will, she doesn't have her father's ashes. Unbeknownst to Liesl, she's carrying a box of very powerful magic. Things move along from there, with a whole crowd of people converging on the Red House, where the grave is located, all at once, and all wanting something. The story is simple but it contains some unexpected revelations - why did Liesl's stepmother lock her in the attic? What is this powerful magic, and how did the alchemist make it? Why is the Lady Premiere so upset by the smell of cabbage? Is Bundle the ghost a dog or a cat?

The book has some unexpected humor as well. Po's grumpiness can be hilarious. One side-effect of the tragic loss of sunlight in Liesl & Po's world is that most crops won't grow, leaving people to subsist on potatoes...which is pretty grim, yes, but I still laughed every time I read about eating a potato donut.

This is a marvelous book, highly recommended for young readers and for adults who want to feel young.
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