Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Book - 2014
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A 2015 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist

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 naive 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.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachursetts : Candlewick Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9780763665661
0763665665
Characteristics: 301 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Study Program: Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.8 12.0 168895.

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rasha1784
Jun 22, 2017

Beautifully written Magical Realism, but it was a little too sad for me to recommend the books to others.

BostonPL_LauraB Oct 31, 2016

This book was very well-written - lyrical and fantastical. Silly and absurd at times, heartwarming and heartbreaking in others. I am honestly surprised this is categorized as YA at all, as it didn't feel like it at all to me. As a personal preference, I'd give this a 3.5/5 stars because it was a little too much "magical realism" for my tastes, but I completely understand it's enchantment for most readers. Recommended!

LPL_KimberlyL May 11, 2016

The YA for Grownups pick for May 2016! Set in France, New York, and San Francisco, this multi-generational fairy tale follows the family of Ava Lavender and all of the magic and tragedies that have occurred along the way. A stunning example of Magical Realism, along the lines of Chocolat, Like Water for Chocolate, and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

d
danthetiredboi
Feb 27, 2016

I truly like this book. It's like a fairy tale, but not. Perfect for teenagers after their own personal fairy tale. :)

LPL_MollyW Jul 28, 2015

This book is like a fairy tale in its purest form, tinged with magic but also laced with suffering. The book is truly a saga, chronicling the heartbreak and woe of several generations of Ava Lavender's family is captivating and haunting prose. This is for fans of unrequited and tragic love who delight in imagery and words and unexpected twists and the symmetry of stories.

m
marthabwaters
Jan 16, 2015

I enjoyed this quite a bit, though I'm iffy about whether I actually consider it to be YA - the main character is a teenager, but only from the halfway mark onwards, when she actually becomes the focus of the story (it's multigenerational), and I think it might be more accurate to classify this as an adult book with YA appeal. Having said that, since everyone is calling this YA, it's refreshing to read a YA book featuring magical realism, which I thought was handled well. It's beautifully written with memorable characters - my only warning would be that the last 50 pages are kind of unexpectedly brutal, so readers should be prepared.

s
sagewolfe
Oct 30, 2014

Amazing. This daring and luscious novel is almost too much. Can't wait to see what Walton writes for us next.

KateHillier Jun 27, 2014

Ava and Henry Lavender are unusual. Henry because he has been mute most of life and Ava because she has wings. Her mother shelters her family from the world but, of course, the world creeps in regardless. Part is done by Ava herself and her neighbours, the rest by Nathaniel Sorrows - a devout man who has mistaken her for an angel.

It's magical realism that you don't think twice about. Of course it's logical for people to turn into burns or be able to smell everything about a person or to commune with ghosts. It is utterly immersive and utterly heartbreaking as Ava tells her family's tale (starting with her grandmother) and how all those sorrows and pain lead up to Ava and her wings and the heartbreaking, devastating, trouble that brings. Despite how much your heart will hurt by the novel's end, this is a gorgeous novel and a brilliant first effort from Leslye Walton. I eagerly await her next work.

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vickiheck
Jun 03, 2014

Just because love don't look how you think it should don't mean you don't have it.

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