The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender {Book Review}

Published Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Author: Leslye Walton
Pages: 301
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Fantasy

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human. – Summary from Goodreads

I’m spent, y’all. I’m not going to give my own summary because, to be honest, I have NO idea how to summarize this book. Why? Because I’m still confused by what I just read. There was just so much crammed into one book…

What did I like? Well, for starters the characters. Individually, they were lovely in their own way. Their stories were haunting and whimsical and magical and delicious. I enjoyed the friendship between Ava and Cardigan {plus her name is pretty cool too!}…I enjoyed Rowe’s crush on Ava…I enjoyed the sorrows of the Roux Family, cursed the moment they stepped foot in America. I was creeped out by the Norman Bates-ish Nathaniel Sorrows but loved his fat Aunt Marigold, who decided “to hell with losing weight I’m joining the circus as the fat lady!” I also liked the whimsy of the story. While I still am left scratching my head, I was touched by the words on the page and the sentiment. It really was a lovely idea.

What I didn’t like? The way these characters came together in the novel. The story made me feel like I was riding the bumper cars at an amusement park. I felt jolted one way then another. I felt like certain parts ended abruptly only to be brought back up in a backhanded way a few pages later. I felt like there were too many unanswered questions, too many “what the what?” moments. I also felt like Walton was a bit wordy and repetitive. But then again, I’m pretty wordy and repetitive so who am I to talk, right? I guess in the end, it was just too much going on at one time, all the time. OH! And I won’t even talk about the ending because it’s the reason I want to tear my feathers out. Sure it was artistic and lovely and whatever but I wasn’t looking for that… I wanted closure. It didn’t have to be tied up in a pretty bow. I would’ve settled for twine. I just needed something more solid than what I got. *le sighe* Oh well!

This story wasn’t for me but on Goodreads the average is a 4+, so I encourage you guys to try it.

If you’re looking for a book that’s heavy and magical and chock full of characters and mystery, then this is your book! Ps. This cover is swoon worthy.

Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and The Book Depository.


10 thoughts on “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender {Book Review}

  1. Books like these are usually pretty “me-not-you,” and I’m usually in the minority anyway. I still wanna give it a shot, but I’ll keep this review in mind if I feel like I’m not exactly into it.

    • I’m glad you’ll try it anyway! I always feel bad when I’m in the minority. For me, I couldn’t get attached completely. But I’m hoping you like it better 🙂

  2. I’ve been recommended this book by several people, and even though I’m not 100% sure that I’ll love, I’ll give it a try.

    Loved your post, FYI 😀 .

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