Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
April 24th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer


Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Published by: Candlewick

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

Find it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | IndieBound


From Goodreads:

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

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.

My review:

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is magical realism, one of perhaps two I have read in a list of over 600 books since 2010. It was strange and different and enthralling. I definitely was pulled into the story of Ava Lavender, a winged girl born to a “odd” family. Walton does a great job giving readers a family history filled with wondrous occurrences and plagued with sadness. 

There are many metaphors and life lessons to be extracted from this novel. One of which is to accept or embrace your uniqueness. Love and the perils of love is another theme—choose wisely to whom you give your heart. 

Ava’s family history and ghosts.
Henry, Ava’s non-winged twin.
The bakery.

I deeply appreciated the opportunity to suspend logic and go for this ride in magical realism. Ava was a remarkable character and I was able to visualize what she would have looked like with her useless wings. The bakery scenes with the textures and scents had me drooling. What an imagination Leslye Walton has! The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a wonderful challenge for readers who want something different, something out of the ordinary. Mythical, magical, wondrous, unique.

Thank you so much, Candlewick, for the ARC!

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