My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“On the third night after the day her father died, Liesl saw the ghost.”
And with that first line, Liesl and Po proceeded to grab me and never let me go. I think this might be one of my favorite first lines ever, because it is everything a first line should be – it grabs your attention and sets up for the entire rest of the story that is to come, all in just a few words.
One of the things I loved was how well Oliver used details – whether it was to paint a picture of how lonely Liesl is, or how bleak this world is. She didn’t spend pages and pages describing any of these things, but instead slipped little details in here and there that did a great job showing us these things.
I also really loved the book as a whole. This book deals with the idea that bad things happen – people die, people get taken advantage of, people can be greedy, etc. (I mean, let’s face it, most of the adults in this book aren’t very nice people.) But the way these things are presented are in such a whimsical way, almost like I was reading a fairy tale.
The only complaint I really had – and it was a small one – was that I wished there had been a little more backstory sooner – why does Liesl live in the attic? Why does her stepmother hate her? We do figure these things out, but I was a little confused as I was reading. I also tend to be one of those people who wants to know these sorts of things up-front, so if waiting doesn’t bother you, you probably won’t mind as much as I did (which, admittedly, wasn’t much).
This book is one of those books that manages to be fun and whimsical while still making me think. Definitely recommended for everyone, but especially adults 🙂