Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

header image ava lavender

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.


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Short story:

Quite simply, this is the best book I have read in a very, very long time.

Long story:

So I’m a host for a Bloggers Bookclub (hosted with Book With Ems) and the February challenge is to read a “beautiful” book, and the book that was chosen was “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” which was perfect because I hadn’t read it yet. Here are some relevant, accurate gifs of me after reading this:

This book is such a whirlwind of emotions. There is hope and there is heartbreak, there is love and there is loss, there is humour and there is tragedy. There are sentences where you will laugh at the beginning and cry at the end. Warning: THIS BOOK DOES NOT GIVE A SH*T ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS AND WILL F*CK YOU UP. BAD.

Ahem. Sorry. Give me a second while I search for the pieces of my broken heart. Be right back.

Alrighty. I have verified that my heart is well and truly shattered into 50 billion pieces that I will never ever be able to find and pieces together again. Let’s talk more about this book.

It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Walton’s writing is beautiful and smooth, lyrical and poetic, and very very distinctive. One thing I have to mention is the use of magic and magic realism. There are some scenes where the touch of magic is so subtle that it almost goes unseen unless you know what to look out for. I can see the influences of Gabriel Garcia Marques on Walton’s work, especially in the magical realism, the cultural aspect, and the immense size of Gabe (one of Marques’ short stories includes a character who is a giant).

The main theme of this story is love. Falling in love, falling out of love and being betrayed by a lover. It is so beautifully human, with it’s unbearably raw themes of love and betrayal, and that, I think, it what makes this book so incredibly beautiful.

I’m really to find anything else to say. This book is incredibly amazing. Go out and buy this book immediately. Or better yet, keep your eye out for a giveaway soon ;D


Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ 10/10


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.


The Info:

  • Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
  • Author: Leslye Walton
  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (March 27th, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN10: 0763665665
  • URL: Goodreads

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