Rated Reads

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

by Leslye Walton

Rated: High

While the title of the book suggests this book is about a girl named Ava Lavender, there is more to this story. In fact, it’s about Ava Lavender only because she’s the granddaughter of Emmaline Roux and daughter of Viviane Lavender. It’s equally their story. And a difficult story to tell.

There’s foolish love, unrequited love, passion, and, most of all, a magic running through it all. It’s the magic of Like Water for Chocolate: Things happen because of the passion. Not the least of which is that Ava Lavender was born with wings. Not just little wings, either. Full-fledged, huge speckled wings. Her mother, being the person she is, doesn’t allow Ava to leave their hilltop Seattle home. But Ava longs to be a “normal” teenager. Unfortunately, normality comes at a price.

The magic runs in other places as well: Ava’s twin, Henry, only talks when he needs to, and that’s not very often. Her grandmother sees ghosts. Her mother’s sense of smell is beyond extraordinary. The man down the road inspires people to confess their sins. Things like that.

The writing is … lyrical. The book … magical. And me? Well, I read it. See, magical realism and I don’t really get along terribly well. I wanted … something more to happen. It’s not that it was a bad book; it wasn’t. It just wasn’t, well, my cup of tea.

Rated: High. There are a few mild swear words, but lots of sex (none of it graphic), including a rape scene.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
  • by Leslye Walton
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: