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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WWW Wednesdays #90 – May 11th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which is this months The Revolving Shelf book club choice. The other book I’ve picked up is The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, a story originally written in French I’ve chosen as my translated title for the yearly Bookish Bingo challenge.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak by Brian Katcher. It was without doubt a very entertaining read and I loved Zak’s chapters with all its awkward, geeky and funny moments, but I wasn’t so charmed by Ana… Still definitely worth reading though.
* I’ve also finished The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which I had mixed feelings about. I don’t think the story actually lives up to the expectations after seeing the gorgeous cover… Some of the prose is more than excellent, but I would have liked to read more about Ava herself and I felt the story lacked cohesion.
* I also finally read Daugher Of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I expected to love this story and it started out that way, but this ended up being another of my unpopular opinion titles… Once the insta-love moment happened between Akiva and Karou, I think I stopped enjoying this story. Why o why did a story with so much potential have to be turned into a sappy romance story?!
* The first book I finished during Bout Of Books 16.0 was All The Rage by Courtney Summers, which turned out to be a fast read even though I didn’t find it as good as I thought it would be. The topic is a difficult one (rape and disappearance of a female teenager), but I couldn’t really connect with the main character…
* The last book I finished this week is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira, which was my latest TBR jar pick. Not as good as I hoped, but not bad either.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Hero by Belinda Crawford is my newest ARC that I am really looking forward to read, since it brings the promise of being a YA sci-fi novel without any sappy romance scenes… Which seems to be a rare thing in this genre nowadays. I also want to try to read another classic this month, and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is on the top of my list. I still need to read See How They Run by Ally Carter as well… And Stars Above by Marissa Meyer is my newest TBR jar pick. I’ve actually read a few of these novellas in this collection last year, so I will only be reading those I don’t know yet.

WWW Wednesdays #89 – May 4th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started reading The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld on a whim and while the prose looks really promising, I’m not so sure about the story itself so far. I’ve put it on hold as long as I’m reading The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which is interesting so far even though a bit strange and I’m hoping the story will end up being just as good as the gorgeous cover.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It actually took me a lot of time to finish this book and while the story is really intriguing, I wasn’t so sure about the characters… Some of their actions and dialogues didn’t feel all that ‘natural’ (especially Vianne and Isabelle), although it did become a lot better later on in the story. That said, it is still a really good WWII historical fiction read and definitely worth reading.
* I’ve also finished The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson, which was my latest TBR jar pick. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, it’s without doubt a very entertaining paranormal thriller with a Jack The Ripper twist… I will be trying to pick up the sequel soon.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Basically my list of books I want to read next is the same as last week. Oops! My next read is going to be Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor; I know, I have been saying this for the last few weeks but this time I’m going to pick it up for real! I also want to read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, although I should probably get a copy of the fourth book first… And I want to read See How They Run by Ally Carter as well. My newest TBR jar pick is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira, although I’m not sure if I would actually like that one since I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about it.

Friday Finds #40 – June 12th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. This week four books I’ve recently gotten myself a copy of; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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