Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
A wonderful story about a girl named Liesl who has been imprisoned in the attic by her stepmother since her father’s death and a boy named Will, an apprentice to a mean-spirited alchemist. Will has taken to watching Liesl in her window as he makes his nightly errands and dreams of meeting her. One night, Liesl is awakened to find a spirit named Po in her bedroom with its pet spirit Bundle. Po explains that it is from the Other Side and can no longer remember if it was a boy or a girl or if Bundle was a dog or a cat. There is a reason Po and Bundle haven’t gone Beyond and Po is drawn to Liesl because of the beautiful drawings she creates. Liesl asks Po to find her father on the Other Side. Po isn’t supposed to spend too much time on the Living Side, but it is drawn to Liesl in spite of its misgivings. Meanwhile, Will makes a terrible mistake – instead of delivering a box of powerful magic to the alchemist’s client, he mixes up that box with the box containing Liesl’s father’s ashes. This sets off a desperate adventure to find the lost magic and for Liesl to deliver her father’s ashes to a proper resting place away from her stepmother. Along the way, the main characters find what it is that was missing in their lives. A story that glows with the spirit of true friendship and love, appropriate for middle school children.