Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Leslye Walton; Review

Book Details:
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Walker Books (2nd Oct 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1406357731
ISBN-13: 978-1406357738


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.

Links To Buy:


I started this book simply on a whim.
Before I knew it I was nine chapters in.

Friday night through to Saturday morning.
Faster and faster I read, ignoring my yawning.

A beautiful book full of so much.
Despair and hope that I could really touch.

How do I find the words to explain.
The complexities I felt, different types of pain.

And ending that left me smart with shock. 
A riddle, a puzzle, with no key to the lock.

Read this book, read it you must.
Surrender yourself to this tale, trust trust trust.

Let’s ignore my amateurish attempt at prose above and actually focus on the fact that after months, MONTHS of going without posting a review, when I do come back with one, it just had to be one that broke my heart into minuscule little pieces yet I felt even more wholesome than before - like WHAT IS THAT ABOUT SAHINA?! HUH?!

As my poetry claims, I honestly did pick this up on a whim, Friday night, after reading this post here on some of the most beautifully written YA books. Having caught my attention with it’s quickly title (for which I’m always a sucker) and reading the intriguing premise, I chose to read the first few pages to see what’s going on. Before I even realised I was, I was hooked, entranced, 9 chapters in, with no intention of stopping anytime soon. So much happens within those first 9 chapters alone, life, death, betrayal of so many kinds - but without that added rush of the pace going too fast. 

This whole book was so wonderfully paced, poetic prose throughout with some truly stunning passages and quotes littered throughout. Truly beautifully written in a way that captures your heart. I just couldn’t put it down thanks to this author’s amazing writing. A plot line that spans so many generations, almost 4 to be exact, done so magically well. Each generation captured something beautiful, revelations about love and life, about human wants and expectations and the harsh reality of a certain type of life. It was magical but realistic

Such enigmatic characters were woven in throughout this whole book, each one unique, quirky, without it looking like the author is trying to hard to make them different. They just simply were. They felt real, like they were their own person, they could rise up from the book and embody the everyday people in your life, in the shape of your mother, your siblings, your neighbour. I felt like I could reach out and touch them, even at the expense of them gliding through my open fingers. My personal favourite including Rene, Henry, Gabe, Rowe (oh Rowe) even Fatima to an odd extent. And though he’s a love/hate character, a part of me felt something for Nathaniel Sorrows. 

Look at me, getting all caught up in a book that is magical realism, something I didn’t expect to enjoy but was overjoyed that I did. There’s so many things happening in this book, lives spanning across so many changes that registered in the world around that time and more. 

The symbolism that is entrenched in this book was stunning. For me personally, the theme and representation of what these birds, the feathers, the wings stood for, was a touching one. I loved the reactions it provoked from the people of Seattle, what Ava’s wings physically and metaphorically symbolised for them, whether that be reverence of fear. Like Rowe mentions, is it about Ava being fearful of how people will see her, or people’s fear of what Ava means in the grand scheme of things?

I want so much to be able to embody on my words how beautiful and wonderful this book is; bittersweet and open left for your interpretation, something that I can appreciate, no matter how frustrating it seems at the time. But I also know this is will be a love/hate book depending on who reads it. I loved it. I want you to love it too. Give it a go, pick it up, and see where it takes you. Can you find the beauty within Ava’s sorrow or will you be swept away on the wings of an angel? *puns intended*. 

“Love makes us such fools.”

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