Liesl is a lonely little artist who is trapped in an attic by an evil stepmother. Will is the apprentice of an abusive alchemist. Po is the ghost who will bring them together.
Liesl and Will are miserable youngsters living (if you can call it that) at the mercy of their cruel guardians. Locked-away Liesl gets a chance at escape when she is befriended by a ghost named Po, who encourages her to fly the coop and take her late father's ashes with her to bury properly. Will has to flee when he accidentally mixes up the alchemist's orders and inadvertently ends up giving away the most powerful magic in the world.
The two children and their ghostly new pal (and ghostly pet Bundle) are pursued as they take off on a quest fraught with danger. Luckily, they have the magic of the Other Side behind them. With Po's help, will Liesl be able to carry out her father's wishes so his soul can finally rest? Older readers and younger listeners will be aching to find out.
Lauren Oliver, best-selling young adult author, has made her middle grade debut in a beautifully rendered tale of love, loss, magic, and friendship.
978-0062014528 336 pages Ages 8-12
Highly recommended by Molly Crumbley, Librarian, Maryland, USA.
Read alikes: The Summerlands series by Sarah Prineas (Winterling, Summerkin, Moonkind) Has same elements of two worlds/magic)