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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  41,051 ratings  ·  7,135 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
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  41,051 ratings  ·  7,135 reviews

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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
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned
A beautifully written and overall stunning story. I absolutely loved it. One of my favorite books of all time.
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. ...more
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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Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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
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
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-reads
2.5 stars*

This one didn’t really work for me. It was too vague for me, I didn’t personally connect to many of the characters and some things were too weird/uncomfortable for me.

Some things I did like: the exploration of family relationships & the atmosphere

TW: rape, suicide, abuse, emotional abuse, animal abuse
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
No one talk to me ever again 😭😭😭
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
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

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
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
unique, strange, interesting and beautiful!

This is the moving, poignant yet exquisite story of three women of the same family - Ava`s grandmother Emmelienne, Ava`s mother Viviane and Ava Lavender herself. This book is strange as it is not ordinary, and beautiful because of the unique and interesting characters, well-written storyline and above all it deals with love and loss with a magical touch. It is a story of fairies...



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 c
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
2.5 Stars

Ooh boy, what does it mean for 2019 when my first read leaves me so conflicted? The first 75% of this book is a five-star read. The last 25% is a one star.

From almost the first page, the story makes it clear it’s headed somewhere. That it’s not just aimless wanderings and magic, but that there’s something special about Ava. The first half of the book is dedicated to her lineage, telling us stories of her great-grandfather and grand-parents and slowly arriving at her father and mother an
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡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
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
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: read-2014, netgalley
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
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 instan
Aj the Ravenous Reader
No doubt, one of the strangest stories I’ve ever read but true to 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 th ...more
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
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for February Reading Sprint-2019 in Buddy Reads.

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.

Ava Lavender was born in 1944 and in 2014, and after years or research
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: karen
Shelves: paperwhite, top, i-said, why-eh
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
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
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.
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.
“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, de
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
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
✨    jami   ✨
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
“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 charact
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of beautiful writing
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
Elle (ellexamines)
This was absolutely beautiful.

I don't want to describe the plot because this novel works much better when you go in blind. I will say that's it's a very weird book. Go with it, because this book is really really worth it.

When I picked this up, I was immediately drawn in by the writing style. The writing style is also just as gorgeous as every reviewer says. It's lyrical, it's poetic, it's completely unique, and it's absolutely perfect.

I'm someone who reads for characters, and this book succee
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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

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