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.
Publication Date: March 25th 2014
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar is the story of three generations of women whom have had love abandon them in some way. It was a tale of mothers and daughters, of lost loves and new love brought to life, of a girl with the wings of a bird and another of a girl who turned herself into a bird over love. In all, this story is one that was so beautifully written, full of hope while at the same time tragedy.
“Love makes us such fools”
Ava Lavender tells the story of her Grandmother Emmelienne Roux and her tale of falling in love and consequently losing it. Of the bakery that she relied on to live, and the two children she never realized she had let into her heart.
She tells the story of her own mother, Viviane Lavender as she spends a lifetime waiting for her childhood love to come back to her, all while secluded in their drafty house with a widow’s walk and a rumour of ghosts.
And she tells the story of her own youth, as being kept secreted away in the house with her strange twin brother Henry, and how she makes the choice to become who she wants to be, despite her differentness, and the consequences she has to face for some of her actions.
The magical realism aspect to this story is subtle, as is known to the genre. But it is so fitting to a story that deals with love the way it is done here. Mother’s disappear from thin air, girls are born with wings, ghosts linger and sisters choose to be canaries rather than humans any long. It was bizarre and wonderfully weird.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a brilliantly told, stunningly written and wonderfully imaginative story of a girl with wings who only wanted to be normal. I absolutely fell in love with Leslye Walton’s writing, and know that this book is a rare gem among the young adult genre.