This was my second attempt at Liesl & Po. Earlier, I abandoned it after just a chapter or two, but Wendy gently reminded me that she had recommended it. So I dutifully got it from the library again, and this time I read the whole thing. It didn't work very well for me, though I did tear up at the end, because, well, who wouldn't? I was most charmed by the ghost and the ghostly pet. The adults were all cut from cardboard. The worldbuilding was lacking, in my eyes. Why did the alchemist have the power to basically turn the sun off with his magic but he was otherwise incompetent and bumbling? I know it's a middle-grade novel, skimping on the background details isn't unheard of, and stupid/mean adults are common- but I came away with no real understanding of the motivating force behind Will, no good reasons for some of his actions. The plot, for all the elements of freshness (and there were several) was far too predictable and pat. The part I liked best was the Author's Note, and after I read it, I did find myself liking the book more because of it. The Author's Note brought it from a one star book to a two star book for me.