Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 27th March 2014
Summary: ‘To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel.’
Pain in love is the Roux family birthright. For Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is key to her fate.
Ava traces the lives and loves of the Roux women as she tries to understand what has made her who she is and what she will become. On the night of the summer solstice, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava’s fate is revealed.
Sarah bought me this book for my birthday and I must say that the reason I chose to read it is that it has one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen!
I wasn’t sure what to expect as the synopsis doesn’t give away too much of the plot, which I enjoyed as I love starting a book without much knowledge about what happens. So I went into reading this book without any idea what I was going into.
I have to say I was confused at first as I wasn’t sure exactly where the plot was going. It mainly focuses on Ava Lavenders grandma and mother for a long time. Snippets of who Ava is pepper these sections, however, not very often. I worried the whole book would be this way, but that isn’t the case at all.
Once we have caught up on her family history, we begin to follow Ava herself, though thankfully never leaving her intriguing family behind. We finally get to know the naïve girl born with strange wings, growing up in a relatively small town, leading a sheltered life because of how protective her mother is. She slowly comes out of her shell, thanks to her best friend, Cardigan. Every single character, even the seemingly unimportant ones, create a big impact within the story.
I don’t want to give anything away because I honestly think it would ruin the book, but the ending was much darker than I expected it to be, though it works really well! You begin to feel a small sense of dread at a later point in the book but I still wasn’t prepared for the rather quick spiral from an oddly charming tone to nightmarish.
The characters in this book are stunning. I loved Ava and each and every one of her family members. Her younger brother, mother and grandma are all complex and special in their very own way. No character is forgettable – they each have wonderful quirks and qualities which I adore. The book really does leave you with the lovely fact that though everyone is completely different, we all have thoughts so intricate and delicate.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender has a mystical feel to it. Although when I first began I wondered why so much backstory and explanation of her grandma’s and mother’s lives was needed, by the end I couldn’t imagine the story without it. It adds such a magical element to the fantasy aspects of the book. The description of the family’s past is very mythological, which I think is such a strong part of the story.
The more I think about this book, the more I can say about it. I did fall in love with the style (though if I’m honest, I was already kind of in love with it purely because the cover is so adorable) and there is something refreshingly unique about the story and the intricate and beautiful way in which it is told.