Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


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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 naïve 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.

Well, that was odd. This book is probably one of the books that has been on my TBR for the longest – I used to see it in the teen section of my library over 5 years ago, and I just never picked it up even though it always caught my eye. I was recently gifted a copy by Blue, and I was so happy to finally have my hands on a beautiful hardback copy of this book. I really didn’t know what to expect of this book, but it wasn’t that.

Sadly, there were so few things I actually enjoyed about this book. One of the main parts was the bakery. You know I’m a sucker for food in books, and the bakery in this one didn’t let me down. I also appreciated how beautiful the writing was, but it really did go over my head for the most part because I just could not get into this story. I felt like I was reading it in a daze most of the time, and I don’t think it was just because I was tired. Everything just felt so foggy and far away, and so intangible. I just couldn’t picture most of what was going on because the lyrical writing seemed to take priority over actually making this book understandable at all.

Love, as most know, follows its own timeline.

I wish I could tell you more about the plot but it just felt so vague. I gather that this was more about Ava’s family tree and her ancestors than herself, which felt like a story I didn’t want or need. For a short, 300 page book, this felt like it had way too much setup that we didn’t really have time for. I felt like I was spending most of the time waiting for a story to happen that never came, and then randomly ended up with quite violent or disturbing scenes that didn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the book. There was one scene towards the end of the book that I won’t spoil, but will add a content warning for, as it really shocked me and made me uncomfortable.

I can (kind of) see why some people like this book. If you enjoy fairy tale writing and don’t mind a lot of vague plot that feels like it is just meandering around and not necessarily going anywhere, it might be for you. It’s easy to appreciate how beautiful the writing is, but that was really about it for me.

Disregarding our intentions or well rehearsed plans.

Alongside just being generally strange, I also found this really unsettling. Please don’t go into this without being aware of the content, even if it sounds like something you’d enjoy!

CW: Graphic sexual assault, death, grief

2 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

  1. Oh, that’s a shame. I was really moved by this book and really loved it for its’ time-frame, its’ eerie oddness and its’ bakery. There is a fascinating off-time/out-of-time flow that I really enjoyed. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: March Wrap Up + April TBR – The Books are Everywhere

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