The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

18166936Published: March 27th 2014 By: Candlewick Press

Genres: Young-Adult, Magical-Realism, Historical, Romance

Format: Kindle Source: Purchased My Rating: 4 Stars

Find It: Goodreads || Amazon || B & N || BD

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.


I can’t explain this story; especially to those of you who haven’t read it. YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. I don’t care what your usual genre is, or why you feel that this book won’t interest you. Once you start it, you will not put it down until the end. 1. You will want to know Ava’s story, because as soon as you read the first few sentences, it’s a done deal. You will stop at nothing to understand. 2. You will walk away from this with some knowledge that you’ve never heard before. Something will happen to you, and you will either be happy or sad about the conclusion.

Beautiful, sad, strange, hopeful – this book is all those things and more. I couldn’t put it down to save my life. Ava Lavender and family are unique. This book is filled with family, love, unrequited love, self-realization, secrets, choices, religion, and friendship. From Ava’s great grandparents journey to America, to the day of her birth and beyond; this story will warm your heart and make you realize that life is short – live and love while you can. The ending was perfect, and I was left wanting more but thought better. It’s the type of ending you can make up for yourself about what happens next, or what it means. All you need to know is that Ava was born with wings. See, that should make you want to dive right in.

I love the arc throughout history here. There’s so much to get to the end of the story. It starts in France and ends in Seattle, WA. Sometimes it feels more paranormal/fantasy-like, than magical realism. I say this because of the obvious – Ava has wings, and there are ghosts. It gets downright creepy at times, because of the religious neighbor who is obsessed with Ava and her wings. Nathaniel Sorrows is definitely a character that will make you shudder. I love most of these characters; especially Ava, Henry, and Gabe. There were moments when I forgot that this book is about Ava. I even forgot that she is narrating this story; that’s how deep I was inside this book. To me, that threw me off a little because sometimes it did get a little info-dumpy. I feel some things could have been left out or replaced with something else. Still, great story. I definitely recommend this book!


10 thoughts on “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

  1. I’ve seen amazing reviews for this one, but I haven’t bothered to pick it up. I will do so now girl, because your review has me so curious to see what this book is all about. You have definitely convinced me to pick it up 🙂


  2. I have to honest girl, the cover didn’t interest me that much BUT from your review, I couldn’t help but be all like WOW. I HAVE to read this! Ava sounds like a really awesome character and she sounds like a true angel and one that I would so love to get to know! The story itself sounds good and I can tell you were REALLY, REALLY sucked into it! Epical review as always Keisha! ❤ xoxoxoxo


  3. Oh wow, this book seems like it spans so much in it and crosses into all these different themes. I like the sound of learning a lot as well as enjoying the story and watching the characters develop. I’ve also never read magical realism so that could interest me too!


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