Book Review

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava LavenderPublished: March 25 2014

Number of pages: 301

Format: hardcover

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Genre: magical realism, romance

Audience: YA

Rating: 5/5 owl hoots

Find it on Goodreads | Chapters Indigo


Generations of the Roux family seem to learn the hard way that love makes us fools. This casts an ominous fate for the twins: Ava and Henry Lavander. Ava is a girl born with wings and Henry is a mute for most of his young life. When Ava grows old enough she begins to question her fate and desires to fit in with the rest of children. Turning sixteen, she discovers her family’s past and steps out to the outside world only to be naive to others who have twisted motives for her, such as Nathanial Sorrows, a pious man who mistakes Ava for an angel. His obsession for her grows until the night of the summer solstice when Ava and her family saga end in a heartbreaking crescendo.

My Review: 

There is only a few times in which I have read a book in one setting. I have read books that draw me in on one chapter, and after that I can’t put it down because the story is so compelling and beautifully written that I just have to keep reading it until the end, even if it means putting my plans aside just so I can finish the story. This is what this book is. I finished the story at 11:30pm and I started crying just a little because the ending was too beautiful for words. I don’t normally cry after reading a good book, but this one did it for me.

The problem of writing a review for this story is that there are no other words to describe how beautiful it is, so I’m going to make this short without babbling on. A story about a girl named Ava who is born with wings and is sheltered from the world for her own protection. But just like any other child, Ava wants to explore the world and see people and places that are outside Pinnacle Lane. She refuses to stay hidden and wonders if there is anyone who will love her the way she is. A story told in Ava’s point of view as she begins with her family’s history, and how her grandmother, Emilienne and her mother, Viviane were cursed by love and loss.

How can I explain my feelings for this book? Since I admitted crying afterwards that can only tell you how emotional and heartbreaking this story was. I loved Leslye’s writing and how it created a beautiful atmosphere through the plot that had so many intricate layers threaded and weaved together with a complex cast of characters. Every character was used in this story so they don’t end up wasted. The story was like a fairy tale touching on humanity, family, desire, and most importantly love, and there were parts that felt surreal and kept me guessing that I had to turn the next page to see if it really happened or not (which was why I couldn’t put it down anyways).

As the women grow up, their perspectives about love changes when they find a new meaning to the word, and that love can bring new hope. I really can’t say anymore except that it was beautiful, heart wrenching, and compelling that this book dazzled me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the ending the minute I put down the book. Go read it! Please!


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