BOOK REVIEW: The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender – by Leslye Walton

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Title: The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
First published: March 27th 2014
Finished reading: May 5th 2016
Pages: 301
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“And that might just be the root of the problem: we’re all afraid of each other, wings or no wings.”

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To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this book. I have been wanting to read The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender ever since I first saw the gorgeous cover, but I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I thought I would. While this story is without strange, peculiar, original and full of magical realism, I actually had a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is without doubt a well written story and some of Leslye Walton‘s prose is simply exceptional, but I feel like the story seems to be lacking a proper plot. The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender sometimes felt more like a bunch of short stories about Ava Lavender’s strange family rather than a story about the main character herself; Ava didn’t make an actual appearance until almost halfway into the story. And while her family has without doubt an interesting history, jumping from one family member to the other didn’t help creating a bond with the characters and made it seem like the story lacked cohesion. I kind of wish this book would have been more about Ava… Because this winged girl is without doubt one of the most intriguing characters I’ve seen around lately. Would I recommend it? Only to those who enjoy magical realism and don’t mind a weakish plot.

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The Roux family all seem to be born with hearts that a tragically human and foolish love seems to be part of their personal history. In order to understand the main character Ava Lavender, we take a look into the family’s history and try to find out how it came that Ava ended up being born with the wings of a bird. Love has driven the family to do foolish things for a long time, and sixteen-year old Ava isn’t an exception. She is still a normal girl after all if you forget about the wings… Her mother wants to shield her from the world, but Ava no longer wants to hide. Together with her best friend she decides to try her luck in the wider world, but it seems like the people are not prepared for her; it’s hard for them to accept her wings as something ‘normal’. Others take it even further, like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows who mistakes Ava for an angel. Surely nothing good can come of that…

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I don’t think I’m the only one who decided to add The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender to their wishlist mostly based on the gorgeous cover. And while I think the cover is perfect for the story, I’m not sure I actually liked it as much as I thought I would. Ava Lavender is without doubt an intriguing character, but I wish she would have played a bigger role in the actual story. Also, I wasn’t completely convinced by the plot. That doesn’t take away that the book is without doubt well written and I liked the magical realism elements even though the story did read slow at points. In short, I had mixed feelings about this book, but that doesn’t mean I thought it was bad either.

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9 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender – by Leslye Walton

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