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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  25,315 Ratings  ·  5,465 Reviews
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 i
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published March 27th 2014 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Emily May
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily May by: karen
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.

Me immediately after finishing this book:

What the hell am I supposed to do now? What do I possibly read after this? How do I R
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hope is the thing with feathers

and maybe it is, to cheerful people like emily dickinson, but this book is not about hope. it is about all of the scars love's victims carry.

and there is nothing i do not love about it.

this book reminds me of traditional fairytales in their purest forms - before being sanitized or gentled for the presumed fragility of young minds. it positively drips with death and loss: people cutting out their own hearts, turning into birds, people suffering endlessly because of
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing

this tale was not just made it was threaded and crafted. I feel like it has burrowed inside of me.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2015
Reading this book felt like wrapping myself in a warm blanket on a misty, autumn day. The writing was beautiful. The characters were magical. The entire book felt like something you could sink into. This has been added to my favorites shelf, and I'm already looking forward to re-reading it in the future.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, owned, favorites
“Love, as most know, follows its own timeline. Disregarding our intentions or well rehearsed plans.”

Not a monster, not an angel, Ava Lavender is a winged girl, born into a family where love and tragedy are always found knocking on their door.

I am still unsure what to think of this novel. The title pretty much explains it all: It's strange and it's beautiful. But it's also heartbreaking, tragic, dark and most of all shocking. Not that you weren't warned. From page One the tension started to grow
Lola  Reviewer
Jul 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lola by: Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister
Shelves: angels, mystery

This book was original, well-written and had some memorable characters but there were unfortunately some flaws in my opinion.

Ava Lavender, a beautiful girl possessing wings and main character, doesn’t even really appear in the plot before its 50% (on average.) That is one of the small problems I had with this book since I got tired of hearing about Ava’s ancestors and mother’ stories. It was interesting, captivating and intriguing at first but then it felt too much and I wanted more. Wanted Ava.
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
It was an interesting fairy tale but it really didn't sweep me away. It felt meandering - with characters and plot ideas that could have been exciting but for me fell flat and aimless.

This is marked very often as Magical Realism, which is why I decided to read it for my Magical Realism course, but I think it doesn't actually work as Magical Realism. Instead I would call it a fairy tale, simply because (at least in my explorations) Magical Realism is magic that goes unquestioned in its society b
Mar 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
TRIGGER WARNING: THOSE SENSITIVE TO DEPICTIONS OF RAPE MAY WANT TO SKIP THIS BOOK... what I wish someone else had put at the top of their review so I could have fucking saved myself from running headfirst into that scene.

The moral of this book: everything of beauty in this world will eventually be destroyed by those who covet it.

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I have nothing to add to my previous review except: DAMN YOU YOU FOUL EXCUSE OF A MAN. YES YOU.

First read: 24th December 2015
4.5/5 STARS

Do I attempt purging my feels by screaming at the top my lungs?

Or JUMP AROUND like the world is alight in sparkling col
Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

Wow. What a beautiful fairytale Leslye Walton crafts. Read this book. It will stay with you forever.
What a way to start off the year!

I will admit, the first few chapters I wasn't really feeling it so much. I wasn't hating it by any means, the writing is much too beautiful to hate, but I found it a bit tedious. However, after that I really got absorbed into the story.
The way this story is told really allows you to familiarize yourself
☘Misericordia☘  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A world, in which fused are reality and fiction, magical and quotidien, obscurily and luminousity. Poetic, entrancing, unbelievable story put in most peculiarly diaphanous writing.
For many, this might be too whimsical. For me, this triggered my imagination in so many ways! I loved this. It was like a glass of warm sweet milk on a rainy day, drank in the comfort of my room, while listening to the sounds of the rain and breathing in the ozone smell! I don't know how else to put it, this is a breat
This so weird.

I don’t know what I expected. I’ve had this book on to-read and to-buy lists intermittently for about three years, without ever once building a concept of what it was about beyond “girl with wings.”

I guess I definitively didn’t expect “girl with wings in historical fiction narrative featuring brutal violence, tragic discussion of love, horrifying moments, overwrought symbols, and treacly writing.”
But that particular oddness salad is what I got.

All the bits I wanted more o
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
No one talk to me ever again 😭😭😭
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: karen
Shelves: netgalley, read-2014
The writing in this book is absolutely amazing. It's one of those books that once you start reading it you just feel like the book opens up and you step into it. I honestly could smell the bread baking and my mouth watered when the story was in the bakery area. It reminded me of a previous favorite author of mine before she turned on readers. I missed this kind of magical story.
It's the story of an entire family. I think some people have gone into this book expecting a book about the "girl born
What a wonderful little story. Ava Lavender, you have rightfully earned your place on my favorites shelf!
This was a beautiful family saga about three generations of women. We not only get to know Ava’s story, but also her grandmother’s and mother’s; we follow them from France, to New York, to Seattle and to the whimsical street that is Pinnacle Lane. All the women's stories are stories of foolish love and its consequences. All are beautiful and touched me in different ways.
Ava Lavender is a per
Why is it that we fall in love with some books?
And others we don't?
I can never fully explain those feelings when I love a book. I can never find the right words to express all that is contained within my heart. Within my soul.

“If my mother kept a list of the reasons she confined me to the house on the hill, she’d have a length of paper that could stretch all the way down Pinnacle Lane and trail into the waters of the Puget Sound...
To put it simply, my mother worried.
3 1/2 stars.

Wow, what a strange and wonderful book, which I was hoping to love.

It's not a bad book, but there were lots of things that I didn't like.

◆About 150 pages in the book is about tragic love stories about Ava's ancestors.
◆It was extremely confusing towards the beginning.
◆I had a hard time remembering who was which character because of the names. The names were beautiful, but I found myself confused as to who the characters were.
◆There was not much dialogue.
◆Still wondering what the
Aj the Ravenous Reader

No doubt, one of the strangest stories I’ve ever read but true its title, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is very beautifully written though also truly very sorrowfully. It’s a mesmerizing tale that riveted me to every word, to the individual stories of the three women of the Lavender lineage that often twisted my heart in pain or sadness but sometimes also cracked my face in unexpected humor. Indeed, love made the characters in the story such fools but it’s also the same thing
Steph Sinclair

"Love makes us such fools."
Ava Lavender’s family has a history of tragic love stories. Her great-grandmother, Maman; grandmother, Emilienne; and mother, Viviane’s stories are all told through this generational saga exploring themes of love and love lost.

And then there is Ava, the girl born with wings, where the story truly takes shape. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is magical realism at its best.

“Older” Ava, our narrator, opens with a powerful prologue that instantly hook
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: karen
Shelves: i-said, paperwhite, why-eh, top
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.

Magical realism and I do not always get along.  More often than not it leaves me untouched or I shy away from it all tog
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was beautiful, sad, whimsical, lovely, everything.
It took a little bit for me to get into it but once I was in I was hooked.
It's a lot different than what I was expecting and I'm so glad it was. BEAUTIFUL BOOK.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, ya, 2015
3.5 stars

Leslye Walton clearly knows how to write. It's whimsical and surreal and stunningly beautiful. If you like the film Big Fish, then I think you'll enjoy this story. It's about a girl who is perfectly normal, minus the fact that she was born with a pair of wings. And it's about her family's history, as she traces the lovelorn experiences of that family's matriarchs.

At times I was completely captivated by her ability to create such a unique and fantastical story. At others I felt like the
Chantal  (Every Word A Doorway)
“And that might just be the root of the problem: we're all afraid of each other, wings or no wings.”

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is the sort of book that is difficult to describe. I can give you a list of adjectives: strange, beautiful, odd, whimsical, magical, different, unique, tragic, hopeful, melancholy…The book is all those things and so much more. It’s a novel you have to experience for yourself in order to understand its magic.

It’s about grief and loss, desire and
Deborah Obida
Buddy reading with Sara my January tbr twin, also my first buddy read of the year.

I didn't like it as much as I thought I would, I have to admit I was disappointed. Its just an average read to me.

This is my first magical realism and I am looking forward to reading other books in the genre. Magical realism is almost the same as fantasy but its just regular people in regular world that have magic or powers, in this case wings. Let the tittle not decieve you this is a historical fiction, the book
✨    jamieson   ✨
“Love makes us such fools.”

Well the title pretty much says it all. This book was so strange and so beautiful. the writing pretty much immediately drew me in because it's so pretty and probably the lilting, lyrical prose accompanied with the meandering, flowing plot was my favourite thing about this book.

I get the ending of this book is controversial and I'm firmly in the didn't like it camp. It really took down my enjoyment of this book. But I still really enjoyed this overall. The character
To say this book was beautiful would be an understatement.

This book was magical.

This book was atmospheric.

This book was memorable.

It's been awhile since I read a book that has left me thinking long after since I've finished it. This book left me with my emotions warring inside me, happiness triumphing sadness, sadness triumphing happiness and so forth. I cannot even tell you how I feel now, it has been weeks since I have finished this masterpiece and I'm still thinking about it. I cannot stop
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Contrary to the title The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is not entirely about Ava Lavender. It is about three generations of women in the Roux-Lavender family, from Emilienne to Viviane and finally to Ava, and heartbreak.
“Love makes us such fools.”

A recurring line and the prevalent theme. The book treats us to the different acts of either selflessness or foolishness in the name of love. How you perceive them depends from which camp you’re from. I myself belong to the latter.

See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

It looks like I am the tiny little dot of negative-ness amongst the sea of loving reviews. So yes, I am a black sheep. And yes, you should still consider this book because trust me, most of you will adore The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. There’s nothing much to hold distaste towards, the characters, idea and writing are all brilliant.

The main reason to why I did not like The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was simply just becau
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2015
This book is so, so beautiful. It's like inhaling the feeling of yearning and hope that is sometimes carried in the autumn breeze. If you're lucky the breeze will sneak up on you and make you fall in love with being alive. And when it does, all you can do is inhale and try not to let go. And when the feeling inevitably escapes the fibers of your being, your heart fractures. Nothing lasts forever, and that's what makes it so breathtakingly bittersweet.

That heartbreak is how I felt when I finishe
First of all, please pay attention to the word “Sorrows” that is right there in the title and take it very seriously. I didn’t and I paid for it! *coughs* Back to the review, I will do my best to avoid spoilers as much as possible and I will try to be vague.

I read this book in a buddy read with my dear friend, Roya. Thank Roya!*Waves* I admit only the magical powers of buddy read could have pulled me through the beginning of this book. As mentioned by other reviewers, this isn’t only story of Av
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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 lo ...more
More about Leslye Walton

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“Love makes us such fools.” 444 likes
“Just because love don't look the way you think it should, don't mean you don't have it.” 354 likes
More quotes…