The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender


Hello lovelies!

I stopped reviewing every single book that I read because it was getting a bit too bookish on here- not a problem in general but it was limiting my variety seeing as I read a book a week and only post twice a week! So, I didn’t review the last few books I read and, to be honest, they were actually really crap books. I still review every single book I ever read over on goodreads so go over there if you want to read the negative reviews and why I hated the last couple of books I read but from now on, only the books that I would recommend will be going on the blog for you guys.

This book. This book. How do I begin to describe how incredible this book is and how much it means to me on such a personal level?

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender sits on the fantasy genre shelf but it’s not a typical fantasy book in that it is entirely a fantastical world. This is set in the real world with real places that you can imagine but it has really wonderful fantastical touches that are simply dropped into the storyline and even though you double take and wonder did she really just say what I think she just said? it is so perfect and effortless. It kind of breaks the flow and continues like it didn’t notice you stutter.

This book is three-part. Ava Lavender is born with wings that cannot be surgically removed because they’re so intertwined with her organs and this book talks about her mother and her grandmother and their lives before the end of the book actually addressing Ava’s tale.

Without spoilers, there are just so many wonderful and strange elements of this book- all the backgrounds of the people and the places are so beautiful and mythical and intricate, I have never read something more perfect for the imagination. Ava’s grandmother Emilienne has such a strange story of her moving and her strange son and daughters and what becomes of them. It is clear that something supernatural is within the family in an otherwise normal place; they’re all so intriguing. Vivianne’s is a more average story and then Ava’s is just curious. Of course I want to read about a girl born with wings and listen to the tales of her family for a hint of why she might be born this way!

It is beautifully written, perfectly presented and just a really good story in general. Definitely one to get you out of a reading slump because you’ll read this in few sittings as its flows perfectly and is never boring- not even for a page.

This is a fairly short book for a fiction novel and has an overwhelming amount of characters in but Leslye Walton never once falls short of the mark when describing how intricately complex each individual character is, their past, their thoughts, their quirks etc. Each character is so beautifully portrayed and I became so involved with all of them.

The ending of this book resonated with me for personal reasons. All I can say is that I wept because it was familiar and I was empowered because the character was strong and there was one particular line in the midst of unspeakable events that just got me right in the heart and perfectly captured just everything about it.

The very ending was so short, so abrupt, so sudden because you think one thing and another thing happens but it was so perfect, so fitting for beautiful Ava, so wonderful and so real.

This book is beautifully created to give you goosebumps and to dare you to fall for the mythical and the magical and yet so violently, brutally honest about the ugliness of life and people and the things we do to each other because ‘love can make us such fools’. Everyone within this book was ill with the sickness of love and Walton so perfectly presents the overwhelming feeling of love and desire and first love’s confusion and sometimes it is perfect and sometimes it is not and sometimes it is horrid and cruel and sometimes it is not.

I feel like I understand life better and myself better and this is just one of those books that has won me over entirely and is the best story I have ever read, one of the books I will treasure until I’m old and I can’t quite believe that the world is still turning and people are still going about their day when my day has come to an abrupt stop with the last page of this book.

I understand the betrayal of Emilienne, I feel the loss of Vivianne’s lover but most of all, I understand and love Ava Lavender more than I have ever loved a book character in my twenty one years of life and reading.

‘To my mother, I was everything. To my father, I was 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’

I understand the emptiness, the yearning, the rush of love, the difference it can make, the naivety of being in danger without realising it, the tragedy of the worst event that could ever be done to a person, the haze that comes thereafter, so beautifully described.

‘You don’t have to carry it by yourself’

Leslye Walton, you have done the impossible; I might have to give this book five stars. There are not enough words for me to accurately describe how wonderful this book is and how fond I am of everything.

The ending, as hard as it was, could not have been any other way and I just loved the last chapter altogether, it was a colourful visual, a calm tone to it, the feeling of the character finally acknowledging things never before admitted aloud, that this isn’t necessarily weakness, that they have had the worst happen and demonstrated strength and that’s not what this has to be about. That they’re fulfilling what was always there. That, even in such a strange time, they allowed themselves the guilty pleasure of wishing to be seen by someone that was never there for them their entire life, not even the beginning but would see the end.

I just really can’t get over this book and I hope everyone reads it and it gets the credit it deserves.

Hannah x


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