The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
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.
I'm having a very difficult time putting my feelings for this book into words. Not because I'm conflicted about them, but because there just aren't any words to accurately describe how much I love The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. This books is potentially the most beautifully written I have read since The Fault in Our Stars - and maybe even more so.
The story Walton tells is about love, loss, tragedy, hope, and so many other things that are acutely human. It's impossible to stick this book into a single category. Even though it has its fair share of the fantastical, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender contains a story more real than most realistic fiction books. Walton's lyrical prose is bittersweet and heart-wrenching. Ava narrates her story, and her family's story, with a clear voice, mixing whimsy and heartbreak in a way only true stories can. The story begins slowly, with Ava's grandmother, and works its way through the generations to Ava and her twin, Henry. And although the beginning isn't fast-paced, it's captivating. The pace of the story slowly gathers speed, leaving readers breathless with tears and joy by the last page.
The story of the Roux family is complicated and crowded with a multitude of characters, each more intricately written than the last. And yet, the story is told simply and beautifully. Each of the characters contributes something, and even those characters I hated, I understood. Not a single one of them is flat or boring, and almost all of them are intensely relatable. Walton's strange and beautiful characters tell an equally strange and beautiful story, permeated by love and all its imperfections. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is an achingly lovely book. I want to scream from the rooftops how good this book is - and to stop myself from gushing any more, that's all I'll say.
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