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

by - January 16, 2018

The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava lavender by Leslye Walton
Publisher/ year: 2014 Walker Books
Genre: Magical realism, contemporary

What is it about?

Pain in Love appears to be a Roux family birthright, and for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is key to her inheritance. Longing to fit in with her peers, Ava ventures away from home, ill-prepared for what awaits her in a world that does not know whether to view her as girl or angel.
Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo until, on the summer solstice, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava’s fate is revealed

The Review

‘To many I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth – deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl.’
I have one word for this novel guys and it’s not at all as wonderfully thought out as the magnificent work of art that is The Strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender,  because well that is simply not possible but it does do the trick I suppose. To this novel I simply have to say WOW! I had difficulty putting this book down and I was amazed at the fact that it was Lesley Walton’s debut novel because of it’s beautiful prose and well thought out plot where we are exposed to not just one character’s life but the lives of almost every character we meet which was refreshing and unexpected. I wanted to pick this book up because of all the buzz that surrounds it but as we all know buzz is not always the best indication of a well written book. In this case however the buzz is well worth it and I am truly grateful that I received it from the folks at Pan Macmillan publishing or I might not have picked it up and that would have been a huge loss on my part.
The Characters: Ahh how bruised and lovely all of these characters were. I honestly felt deeply for each and every heart break!  I laughed and I cried multiple times with each and every one of them and the best was that Walton made it possible for you as a reader to understand how each of them thought and felt which allowed you to understand their actions no matter how blatantly stupid, careless or cruel they seemed. Ava Lavender is the narrator and the Main character of the novel. She is the girl born with a beautiful set of white and brown wings. The reincarnation of an angel, or so some thought. The book starts with her telling her story from beginning to the end or at least to the end of a part of her. The story doesn’t begin with Ava, it begins with her great grandfather and grandmother which at first threw me a little I won’t lie but once I got into it I wanted more and now I wish she could have started even further down the family tree because the family Roux definitely had some interesting tales to tell about life love, family and betrayal. There are way too many characters to go into the whole list but they are all well worth getting to know!
The Setting: What even??? I felt like I was right there with the family through each and every one of their moves. From Beauregard Roux and Maman in their Manhattan apartment to Emilienne Rouw, Viviane, Ava and Henry in the white house at the top of the hill of Pinnacle Lane In the blossoming city of Seattle Washington. I could smell the baked goods from Emilienne Roux’s bakery from which the syrupy sweetness dwindled at each summer Solstice celebration. The descriptions made me want to delve head first into this novel and steel Ava Lavender’s life even with all the heartache that comes along with it.
The prose: Leslye Walton has a way with words that grabs you and never lets you go until it’s over and you’re having sickening withdrawal symptoms. Haha, It’s intense guys but I  can say without a doubt that if this story was written without Walton’s prose the magic would have been lost. I fell in love with her writing just like I fell in love with the characters that fill the tale that is Ava Lavender’s life.
Romance: No comment. My heart was broken and mended more than the humane amount of times tsk tsk I’m pretty sure I need a band aid after this one.
Final Thoughts: Yes I basically spent this whole review raving about the beauty that is this novel and I stand behind each gushing moment. I want to criticise this novel a little but I came up short guys there is nothing bad to say really I just want everyone to read it and love it as much as I did! This was not a YA book and it wasn’t an adult book this is a book for everyone! Mostly YA and up haha it can be a little adult but not at all explicit. This book was tasteful and relied on suggestion more than anything else so if you were afraid of steamy scenes don’t be! There are none. There are a lot of bakery scenes though that will leave you craving baked goods like it’s no one’s business! I had more than one cookie when I reached the end of the novel and even though they were drenched in tears of joy and sadness they were delicious! YUM!

Who should Read this book?

Okay, I know I do this a lot but guys if you can breathe, read and you know love and loss than you should pick this up! Even if you don’t know love or loss pick it up! Even if you can’t breathe or read PICK IT UP! Haha okay no don’t. I’d rather not run into any zombies in my local book store so maybe buy it online? Okay thanks. But seriously now. This book would be loved by those who loved The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak; Death and Ava Lavender make great narrators! Claps for them! Both of these books have the ability to pull you in and like a masochist leave you breaking your own heart unable to put it down! It’s not just sad though don’t get me wrong. This book has a little of everything I even found myself creeped out a hell of a lot while reading it. Another word should be inserted here... GHOSTS! Lots of them!

Memorable quotes

‘Love makes us such fools’
‘Children betrayed their parents by becoming their own people’
‘Just because love don’t look the way you think it should, don’t mean you don’t have it’
‘I found it ironic that I should be blessed with wings and yet feel so constrained, so trapped. It was because of my condition, I believe, that I noticed life’s ironies a bit more often than the average person. I collected them: how love arrived when you least expected it, how someone who said he didn’t want to hurt you eventually would.’
‘I loved you before, Ava. Let me love you still.’

About the author

Leslye Walton was born in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps because of this, Leslye has developed a strange kinship with the daffodil--she too can only achieve beauty after a long, cold sulk in the rain. Her debut novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, was inspired by a particularly long sulk in a particularly cold rainstorm spent pondering the logic, or rather, lack thereof, in love.
Leslye has an MA in writing and lives in Seattle, Washington. When she's not writing, she teaches middle school students how to read and write, and most importantly, how to be kind to each other, even on days when they really don't feel like it. She is currently working on her next novel.
Tell me have you read this yet? What did you think? Amalzing right???

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