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.
“To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost.”
Wow. Just wow. I don’t know how to describe this book. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is just as the title suggests: it’s a strange and beautiful book. And filled with the sorrows spanning three generations starting with Ava’s grandmother. I loved it!
The writing is wonderful. Every character was given a thoughtful back story. Every single one. Though the title only mention Ava, the book is mostly third person because the story also follows everyone who is around Ava. To understand her story, you’d first have to understand the stories of her ancestors and neighbors.
“Love, as most know, follows its own timeline. Disregarding our intentions or well rehearsed plans.”
This book is categorized as Magical Realism. Ava is born with wings. But despite all the magical elements, the characters’ stories feel very real. The love stories were heart breaking and not at all like a typical Young Adult novel. Some parts of the book was actually painful to read because of how well Lesley Walton describes the sadness that comes with love and losing loved ones.
“And that might just be the root of the problem: we’re all afraid of each other, wings or no wings.”
It’s also a tale about what it means to be different. And the Roux-Lavender family was very strange indeed.
This book is magical. Stunning. And all the synonyms of “wonderful” in the dictionary. Go read it!