LIESL & PO by Lauren Oliver
Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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A wonderfully imaginative, startlingly moving and at times wickedly funny fantasy.

In her first work for middle-grade readers, the versatile Oliver (Before I Fall, 2010, and Delirium, 2011) deftly creates two worlds that run parallel, "like two mirrors sitting face-to-face." On the "Living Side," the sun hasn't come out in 1,728 days, and Liesl (about 11) has been locked in a small attic bedroom for 13 months by her conniving stepmother, Augusta. Three nights after her beloved father dies, she is visited by a child-sized ghost named Po and Bundle, a ghost-pet, both of whom come from the "Other Side," where dead souls in various stages of "becoming part of the Everything" linger till they can go "Beyond." They become unlikely best friends, and Po helps Liesl escape so she can take her father's ashes home. Meanwhile... an egomaniacal alchemist whose specialty is potions and transfigurations has created "The Most Powerful Magic in the World" for the Very Important Lady Premiere. "The dead will rise / From glade to glen / And ancient will be young again." But the alchemist's mistreated apprentice Will, an orphan, mixes up the delivery and.... By alternating quietly lyrical, philosophical passages with laugh-out-loud broad comedy/farce, the author takes her readers on a fantastic voyage from loss to healing and joy. 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. (Fantasy. 8-12)
Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-201451-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2011


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Kirkus Interview
Lauren Oliver
author of ROOMS
September 29, 2014

Lauren Oliver is known for her best-selling young adult novels (including the Delirium trilogy) but her new novel Rooms is her first written for adults. We ask her about making the transition, finding new readers, and writing a ghost story. Rooms actually has two story lines that nicely collide: First, a ghost story in which the ghosts can’t leave the house but don’t know why. Second, an estranged family story in which the ex-husband dies, leaving his alcoholic ex-wife, angry daughter and disaffected teen son to clean out their former home, not knowing that it's haunted. We go ghost-hunting with Lauren Oliver this week at Kirkus TV. View video >


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