The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Historical-Fiction, Paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Publication: March 25, 2014, by Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Edition (borrowed)
Goodreads Summary: 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.
"In one fluid motion, Viviane dropped the soapy sponge, flew down the porch stairs and around to the backyard to find me, leaving Henry on the porch, pounding his ears with his open palms. As she ran, my mother thought, This is it. This is the reason not to love. If I didn't love, then whatever I find, no matter how awful, wouldn't hurt."
To me, this was a pretty book. It was one of those reads that make you feel like it's worth something, but the reason why is unexplainable. The concept is gorgeous, and thoroughly unique, but with some confusions in between. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a great read, but it kept me questioning too often.
For a majority of 50% of the book (about) we hear about Ava's relatives's lives, including her grandmother, Emilienne, and her mother, Viviane. Many people have noted that it didn't make sense to speak about their lives for such a long length of pages (especially since the book is 301 pages itself), but I loved hearing about them. Their stories brought Ava's to life, and it brought a little more sense into "why."
We hear about their lives, and how they fell in love and how they lost everything. Both people did, and know it's Ava's turn to. But Ava is someone unique. She is different. She is often mistaken as many things--as a monster, angel, weird creature.
This story is light and fluffy, but dark and messed up at the same time. Some parts of it maybe be all sugar and spice, while others just become horrifying. It's mainly dark, but there's that burst of light sitting there. Yes, the cover doesn't explain too much. It looks super chick-lity and girly for the actual taste of the novel.
I enjoyed this book very much. Leslye Walton is an amazing writer, I must say, and I'm very much looking forward to read her other works in the future. Here, she has written a very captivating story with an unique premise that has to do with tragedy and the works of love.
I loved the idea, but some things were too unreal. Emilienne and Viviane both went through so much, too much, and I can't possibly see that happening to anyone on Planet Earth.
Losing your whole family and then your husband? Then you're depressed but people still love you? Emilienne, you know you're one of my favourite characters, but come on.
The plot was great in the beginning, then slowed down to the end. I think it's because the whole story itself is very unexplainable and I was clueless the whole second half of the book. Ava knows these things about her grandmother and mother--HOW? It's not like she had a super-close relationship with either of them that got her to know these things. And really, who was Ava? Who was she in this real world? I truly wish that the author allowed us to know these things, because that's basically the entire premise in two questions, and not knowing really set me off from everything.
I had a love-hate relationship with Ava. I found her to be annoying and too selfish at times, but once we got into the ending, I settled with her story and she became more likeable than I'd ever imagined her to become.
My favourite characters were Emilienne, Viviane and Jack. Emilienne was the woman who didn't give a shi* about anything or what anyone said, and I truly loved her for that. She may have been a little selfish like her granddaughter was, but I respect her and her sassiness. High five for you, woman!
Viviane was my ultimate favourite. Everything about her was astonishing. She was truly a remarkable person who didn't deserve to suffer, and deserved to be loved by the people whom she loves for. Jack ended up upsetting me because he left the love of his life (PLOT TWIST) but he was so gorgeous and beautiful to make me hate him.
Everyone else weren't really a show-stopper for me, but Leslye truly created a wonderful set of relatable characters for this great book.
And yes, the romance was pretty gorgeous when it was there. ;)
I had some issues with this book, yes, but it overall was a great, enjoyable read that I recommend for anyone looking for something with some more flavour.
"She worried I was just like every other teenage girl, all tender heart and fragile ego. She worried I was more myth and figment than flesh and blood. She worried about my calcium levels, my protein levels, even my reading levels. She worried she couldn't protect me from all of the things that had hurt her: loss and fear, pain and love. Most especially from love."
Ugh, I love that quote!