And a host of other characters, too. This book is well-populated with people who all converge in the end in this fantastical world.
Liesl & Po
by Lauren Oliver
ISBN: 978 0 062 01451 1
A young girl is trapped in an attic by a stepmother after her father’s death. The ghosts of a youngish person and its pet appear there, and somehow become entangled in her story, finding themselves wanting to help. A young boy apprenticed to an alchemist who knows not where he came from before the orphanage spends a few moments of his miserable rounds of errands watching her at her attic window and wondering.
And then… in a land where the sun has not shone for years, where the alchemist peddles magic at night, and where the undertaker’s business is so strong he is running out of containers for ashes, a mistake happens that changes everything and causes boy, girl, and ghost to run away, with many others in hot pursuit. Joining forces by chance, their already intertwined stories are fused into one, and the ghost, who has avoided involvement with humans, finds itself taking great chances to help the pair.
Without giving much about the plot away, I can tell you that it centres around misplaced magic, friendship, love, and a quest to return souls to quiet. I can also tell you that it is a wonderful, wonderful story, and that most of all, the writing is even more magic than what the alchemist created within. Story and writing alike share a dreamlike, lyrical quality that remind me of Kate DiCamillo at her best, and make this a perfect read aloud. I highly recommend this one.
It is also available in ebook format, for those who are reading onscreen these days.