The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: A Review

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

My Rating: 5 lyrical stars!

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publish Date: March 27th, 2014

Received: I purchased this in hardback off of Amazon because I knew I needed this book in my life.

Purchase: Amazon


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 naive 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.

Opening Sentence: “TO MANY, I WAS MYTH INCARNATE, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale”


This book is everything its title says it is Beautiful, Sorrowful, and just that tad bit of Strange. Reading it was like seeing a unformed magic come alive that gave me shivers to see how that magic became a different reality for every person in Ava’s family.

Learning about Ava Lavender from her relatives first until we get to her story was wonderful. There is some real magic twined into Ava’s family that makes Ava herself not so strange at all. The delicious details of how each of her family members unique abilities and the slight offness they all had made this novel layered in the most beautiful of ways.

Ava herself goes through a lot of discovering herself in a world that she was never allowed into and finds herself in a situation where pain and happiness come hand in hand. Her suffering made my heart ache and all I wanted was for her to have been included in regular life sooner so that she could truly live before things would start to crumble.

I adore this novel and it made me feel things in a way that I never have before. My very first introduction into the realm of magical realism was a beautiful one and I don’t think I’m ever turning back.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender in the comments below. I would love to fan over it with anyone who has read it as well.

-Till next time.