The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Author: Leslye Walton

Genre: Magical Realism/Special Youth

Grade: A

When she is born to a heartbroken mother Ava Lavender has a beautiful and unexplained set of wings. Her twin brother, who no one expected, doesn’t speak until it’s necessary and has a gift for multiple languages. This is a bit of a weird family going all the way back to her grandmother who quite literally has dead family members still in her life.

Nothing’s ever been easy for these people.

This is a beautifully written book. It’s one of the things that first attracted me to it. Reviewers were talking about how Walton spins the “magic” and makes the “fantastical elements” blend in so seamlessly that you don’t even think they’re out of place. And it’s true. The writing just flies especially when Ava finally takes over the narrative because I found it easier to connect with her than her mother or grandmother.

The thing is about halfway through this book you know something bad is coming and considering the character that’s introduced you can pretty much guess what it’s going to be. I found I was reading it partly for the story but mostly because I just wanted to get it over with and see if everyone I cared about survived it.

I won’t say.

Take away the magic elements and the beautiful language and it’s actually a rather dark and violent book. Now I do think the end really saved it for me. There’s catharsis and, I think, the sense of truly starting over for this poor family.

TW: Suicide, Murder, & Violent Assault

Recommend: Yes. The lovely writing and the story of Ava herself really made this book for me despite some of the darker elements.

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