Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on October 4th 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
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Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice,until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.
Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.
I usually do not read children’s books, but when my good friend, Wendy, told me about it, I knew I couldn’t resist. And I’m so glad I didn’t. This book has that unputdownable quality to it. Lauren Oliver, this is the kind of magic that I fell in love with when I read Before I Fall.
Liesl is a young girl locked in an attic by her evil stepmother. It has been almost a year since she left the attic, let alone stepped outside the house. One day her father dies and she, sadly, was not allowed to say goodbye to him at the hospital. So, for three days she does not light her oil lamp and or draw. It is then that she meets a lonely ghost named Po, who lives on the Other Side. Meanwhile, there is Will who is also horribly mistreated by his adoptive parent, an Alchemist. He is sent on an errand to deliver the Greatest Magic in the World to Lady Premier, but takes a detour to Liesl’s house as he usually does, which leads to a mix-up. As fate would have it, Liesl ends up in possession of this Great Magic. She along with Po, Bundle, and Will travel on a journey where they discover friendship, say goodbyes, and find a new and brighter beginning.
This book was very charming and I’m quite impressed with Oliver. I found the characters Liesl, Will, Po and Bundle to be very lovable and I constantly worried for their safety. They’d all been dealt very sad cards in life and I kept thinking, “Those poor children. Give them to me. I would love them.” The mistreatment of children is just something that deeply bothers me to the core. But through all their difficulties, I loved how they kept on moving forward. Even when situations seemed very bleak, they did not give up. It reminded me of the 1995 version of The Little Princess. I simply adore that movie and the main character, Sara, possessed the same fighting spirit of Liesl that I looked up to as a small girl. Sometimes awful things happen to you in life and it can be hard to pick yourself up, but you must, but more importantly, you can do it. It’s a wonderful message to present to young people. This is definitely a story I see myself reading to my kids when they are older.